Bednar brings Swifterdisc Mega to Australia

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Powerace says the 18.4m Bednar Swifterdisc Mega XE18400 disc cultivator is the largest speed disc machine to be brought to Australia

Farmers wanting a bigger unit to spend less time preparing paddocks for seeding now have their wish.

The 18.4m Bednar Swifterdisc Mega XE18400 disc cultivator has been introduced to Australia by importer and distributor Powerace.

First launched at last year’s Dowerin Field Days in Western Australia, the XE18400 will allow farmers to get the job done in fewer passes.

Manufactured by Bednar, a Czech company with 25 years of experience in agricultural machinery, the XE18400 is the biggest Swifterdisc Australian farmers can access, but it is certainly not its first.

Swifterdiscs have been used for several years, with farmers running the 12.4m XE12400 model to prepare paddocks for a wide range of broadacre crops.

At 18.4m wide, the Swifterdisc Mega XE18400 gets the job done in fewer passes

The XE12400 will continue to remain available for Australian customers.

Powerace’s Grant Borgward says the new Swifterdisc Mega XE18400 will provide a new world of opportunities for farmers.

"It’s the biggest one available in the world, not just in Australia," he says.

"The number one reason farmers want it right now is to kill summer weeds without relying 100 per cent on chemicals, particularly because glyphosate prices have gone up so much.

"Glyphosate is cost prohibitive to use, and an alternative to glyphosate is using steel or discs to kill your weeds and manage your summer weeds.

"The biggest drawback with that is most boom sprayers are 120ft (36.6m) wide, and your biggest disc was 40ft (12.2m) and 50ft (15.2m) wide and are a bit slow.

"This big Swifterdisc is 60ft (18.3m) wide and you can do around 14 or 15km/h with it. Fast work rate and a wider machine means you’re getting over the country not quite as fast as a boom spray but you’re closing that gap up.

"The other benefits of killing your weeds that way are that you’re cutting up and incorporating your stubble, you have an ability to incorporate lime and manures and you’re levelling that ground off, which, in some cases, hasn’t had any tillage in it for 20 or 30 years since no-till has been around."

Despite its size, the XE18400 folds up for transportation without an escort

An important element of the Swifterdisc is its even weight distribution.

Moving the tandem axle forward and having two undivided folding side frames means the same pressure will be applied along the entire machine, ensuring consistent contact with the soil.

A further advantage of the Swifterdisc’s structural design is the reduction of hydraulic cylinders, which not only reduces potential side frame pressure loss but also reduces the number of lubrication points and overall machine wear.

Borgward says the V-ring packer design of the Swifterdisc provides "superior levelling" of paddocks, which ultimately leads to higher returns for farmers.

"A key feature of the Swifterdisc is the V-ring packer and because they’re two wings that fold up, you’ve only got two sections you need to keep level and, therefore, you get a very level finish, whereas most other machines are either three or five section and they’re very hard to keep level," he says.

"The actual size and shape of the V-ring packer and the two-frame design is what gives the superior levelling.

"You just assume your paddocks are level until you buy a Swifterdisc and realise they’re not even close to being level.

"The more even your crops, generally the higher the yield."

The 12.4m wide Swifterdisc XE12400 will remain available for Australian customers

The Mega XE18400 is a big unit at 18.4m, but folds up to a 3m width, 4m height and 12m length for transport with no escort required.

Despite its ability to become compact and therefore conveniently transported, the XE18400’s point of difference is its sheer size.

It is fitted with 147 discs, each of which are 5mm wide and have a 560mm diameter.

These are spaced 25cm apart throughout the unit, with 1m between the two rows of discs.

Available as either serrated or aggressive discs, farmers also have the option of adding spacers between the disc holders to increase the working depth of discs behind the tractor wheels by between two and four centimetres.

Designed for use with high-powered tractors, Bednar says it is possible to break stubble on up to 230ha per day with the XE18400.

The XE12400 model has already been put to use on Australian farms

Borgward believes the big paddocks on Australian farms and the nation’s strong reliance on glyphosate makes the Swifterdisc an ideal option.

"Now more than ever we need to find a way to sort out the tram lines, we need to fix the paddocks, we need to be able to not only kill but manage the bulk of the summer weeds and take care of all stubble," he says.

"You can chop it all up and incorporate it and you’re getting back to a much better seed bed than you can achieve from just no-till.

"Pre-emergent chemicals work much better when they are sprayed onto stubble that is incorporated and when the seedbed is uniform in size and level.

"We’ve got a one-pass machine that will turn [farmers’] paddocks around. If they’ve got heavy stubble loads or they’ve got a weed burden, or if they need levelling – one pass of the Swifterdisc and it’s ready for seeding.

"Their seeders will also perform better, whether it’s a precision seeder or not, because they’ve got a more even paddock to seed in to."

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