Maschio Presto tiller cuts time for Bowen grower

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North Queensland horticulturalist Shane Otto says a Maschio Presto speed tiller cut the time for 25 hectares by a quarter compared to offset disc harrows

Maschio Presto tiller cuts time for Bowen grower
The 4-metre 3-point linkage Maschio Presto tiller covered 25 hectares in a quarter of the time it took farmer Shane Otto to do the same with offset disc harrows

The Bowen-based farmer and his wife Nikki grow watermelons, pumpkins and mangos on on 324 hectares.  Soils on the farm vary from loams to grey and black.

In September, the Ottos bought a 4-metre 3-point linkage Maschio Presto and crumble roller from Honeycombes Sales and Service in Ayr. 

Shane says he’d seen Presto speed tillers on some of the bigger farms in the area and he did some research on it.

"I needed a machine that can get over the ground quickly and deal with weeds and regrowth to stop disease," he says. 

"Before we got the Presto, I had to run tynes to knock out the high weeds, but then high weeds can also knock out the tynes, so I had to disc as well so it was all taking too much time.

"I’ve been getting through the work so fast with the Presto, the missus asked me to sell it because I’m spending too much time at home," he adds. 

"It’s amazing, how much work it’s saved me, not to mention the fuel.  It’s much easier on the tractor too.

Shane claims he did 25 hectares with the Presto in 4.5 hours. He says the same work would have taken 16-18 hours with the offsets. 

Find Maschio tillage and seeding equipment 

"The speed tiller was going at 12- 13 km/h on a 140hp tractor at 1800-1900 revs and did an absolutely beautiful job," he says. 

"I only used about 120 litres of diesel and I would have had to fill the fuel tank twice if I’d been using the offset discs."

The Presto has been designed for work on tilled soils to finish off seedbed preparation and in no-tilled soils to incorporate crop residues.

It chops, pulverises and incorporates residues at shallow depth, promoting decomposition and nutrient release without too much aggressive soil movement or compaction. 

The tillage operation covers 60 per cent of residues with the remaining 40 per cent left on top to prevent erosion and improve water retention. 

The inclination and concavity of the hard tensile boron steel 460mm discs allows them to throw much more dirt than conventional tillers, while perfect overlapping between front and rear gangs provides consistent soil mixing with no side drift.

Because the soils are quite light, Shane works at about 10cm deep, which is enough to hook under the weed growth, rip it out and kill it, without disturbing the soil too much.

"The Presto breaks down clods in the black soil and incorporates heavy growth in pretty ordinary conditions," he says. 

"Using offsets, you need to adjust your wheels all the time to stop them jamming up but the Presto doesn’t drag things up into a big hump like that. 

"It just leaves an excellent bed.  Even where the beds are usually 30-40cm high, it leaves them completely flat," he adds. 

"It’s beautiful to go into the paddocks after the Presto’s been through." 

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