TOUGH ON TRASH
Many farmers admit that today's corn-on-corn stubble may very well be the most challenging crop residue facing tillage and planting equipment. As technology generates even greater-yielding hybrids, the resulting residue can cause growers added frustration if equipment plugs.
Bill Clark of Johnson Chemicals, a custom operator out of Osage, Iowa, has seen the new Krause Gladiator Precision Tillage System in action in his customers' fields and was "really impressed" by how well it handled high levels of residue and tough trash.
"We ran the Gladiator through corn on corn on a pretty tough day in some drizzling rain just hours after the corn had been harvested so it was fluffed up. We never could have done it with our other competitive machine! I thought the Krause Gladiator did an excellent job!" he reports.
As a strip-till custom operator since 2001, Clark has seen just about all the competitive units over the years. "Looking at the different units on the market and how they work and how they're built, I personally feel that the Gladiator is probably the best out there right now that I've seen... and we've looked at a lot of different ones. Going through corn on corn, it's definitely the best one on the market right now," claims Clark.
With the compact row-unit design of the Krause Gladiator, Clark appreciates its ability to cut residue better, especially on end rows and coming out of grass waterways. "There's less chance of getting plugged because the Krause unit has bigger coulter that cuts trash better than others," he adds.
"Looking at some of these other rigs and running our other machine as long as we have and knowing where the problems come in, I see that Krause has addressed those problems. It's really an exceptional piece of equipment, says Clark.
Curt Davis, Krause Marketting Manager, shares how the product development team took survey data from strip-till growers to discover the areas of opportunity for improvement that best match customer needs. Several key themes came out as clear winners - minimize residue plugging and the amount of reisdue on the tilled strip, as well as lower maintenance requirements and simplify adjustments.
"states Davis. "And with customers across the country putting it to the test in their own fields, it's proving itself to be a popular high-performance unit."
EASY ON MAINTENANCE
Brian Ramaekers of Gull Circle Custom out of Nazareth, Texas, ran the Krause Gladiator over 14,000 acres so far and says, "I don't think I've even put a bearing in it! It's been very durable. We've changed points on it and that's about it!"
After 12 years as a custom operator who now strip-tills 10,000 acres and plants that many acres of corn, Ramaekers knows what it takes to make a durable, heavy-duty machine. "We typically run from the middle of January until the end of June so that's about six full months of strip tilling," he calculates. "We run mostly on corn stubble and behind silage trucks that cut wheatlage for dairies. It works really nice where we're breaking up the hard surface behind the trucks," shares Ramaekers.
"The undercarriage, tires and hubs are built heavy enough to handle the extra 1,000 gallons of fertilizer on the frame and to have the hitch to pull another tank, that really works great! I actually pull another 1,300-gallon tank behind it to get more capacity so I can stay out in the field a little longer without filling up," he adds.
Ramaekers is pleased with the Gladiator's ability to easily adjust the placement of fertilizer independent from the shank depth, unlike competitive units. "So you can run the shank deeper yet keep the fertilizer up closer to the seedbed so the plant doesn't take as long to grow into that fertilizer," he explains.
"The main thing these days is that fertilizer is so expensive and phosphate doesn't move in the soil... it needs to be down in the seedbed where your crop is going to get to it. If you're conventional tilling, you throw phosphates out on top hoping to get it worked down where the seed needs it," he comments.
||"You're just so much more efficient with a strip-till rig by placing that phosphorous down underneath where the seeds will grow right to it instead of broadcasting it all over the field. The fertilizer savings an actually knowing where you're putting that expensive input... that's the big benefit to my customers," Ramaekers concludes.
Ramaekers' customers also appreciate having a "nice seedbed for the planter to run on. The row cleaners on the Krause unit do a great job getting the trash away from the berm and leaving a nice clean berm. Being able to pull that big of a shank the way they have it designed and build a bigger, better berm behind it, my customers really like how their planter acts on the berm and what kind of seedbed I leave them," he shares.
Bill Clark in Iowa agrees because his competitive unit had about 16 zerks per row unit so it took him about an hour every morning to grease. Compared to the Krause unit with PolyLube® bushings, "we were out running right away so that's a real time-saving advantage," he adds.
Scott Simington of Union City, Michigan, grows corn, soybeans and seed corn on 3,500 acres with about 1,000 of those being strip-till. He used a 16-row spring-reset unit on 600 acres this past spring. "The Krause Gladiator worked well for us. We have some rocks and I really liked how it would quickly trip and reset to keep a true depth," he tells. "I liked how it firmed the seedbed but didn't seal like a packer would in wetter soil conditions. And another key feature for us was the low maintenance."
According to Ramaekers, "The Krause people have been excellent to work with. They've got a great company behind the machine. I would recommend it to anyone. It's the whole package... the company, the serviceability, the durability... lot of good points all the way around."
"Looking at quality, heaviness and worksmanship, you can just tell the Krause is a quality product that would last. I would defintely put my money toward a Krause," states Simington.
Davis is happy to hear comments from satisfied customers who have discovered the one-pass profitability for on-row tillage, precise nutrient placement and non-stop seedbed condition. "We want to remind growers that we really do listen to the challenges they face and set out to design equipment that meets those needs with the durability they expect from a Krause product."