REVIEW: Pöttinger Terradisc 3001 disc harrow

By: Brent Lilley

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Pottinger Terradisc 3001 finger tines P1030685 An adjustable row of finger tines behind the disc help level and break up the soil. Pottinger Terradisc 3001 finger tines P1030685
Pottinger Terradisc 3001 P1030683 Discs on thin carrier arms are clamped to the main frame in pairs with rubber elements that allow movement and reduce shock on the frame. Pottinger Terradisc 3001 P1030683
Pottinger Terradisc 3001 P1030688 Pottinger Terradisc 3001 P1030688
Pottinger Terradisc 3001 P1030696 Pottinger Terradisc 3001 P1030696
Pottinger Terradisc 3001 P1030710 The open design of the main frame offers excellent visibility from the cab. Pottinger Terradisc 3001 P1030710
Pottinger Terradisc 3001 P1030711 Top rows of 580mm diameter scalloped discs set at opposing angles aggressively cultivate the ground. Pottinger Terradisc 3001 P1030711
Pottinger Terradisc 3001 P1030712 A heavy duty steel roller on the back uses deep packer rings to leave a firm seed bed. Pottinger Terradisc 3001 P1030712
Pottinger Terradisc 3001 disc harrow 2 Pottinger Terradisc 3001 disc harrow 2

Finding a machine tough enough to handle rugged conditions is no easy task, but the Pöttinger Terradisc compact disc harrow seems to tick all the boxes. BRENT LILLEY checks it out in New Zealand.

Regardless of what you’re planning on planting, when it comes to seed bed preparation I’m a firm believer in doing it right.

A well-cultivated firm seed bed gives crops the best possible start and eventually higher yields.

For many the power harrow has become the go-to machine for secondary cultivation due to its ability to do a good job in spite of certain pitfalls such as high maintenance and running costs.

Due to this, the European trend in more recent years has been a move away from the power harrow, to unpowered mounted and trailing tillage equipment, with higher forward speeds and outputs that still leave a seed bed in equally good shape.

 

Pöttinger Terradisc 3001: The test

Recently I got to check out an operation here in New Zealand that has taken the plunge, largely ditching its power harrow in favour of one such machine; a Pöttinger Terradisc 3001 for cultivation.

Stuart Deadman’s Totara Park farm milks cows on around 1,300 hectares north of Taupo in the central North Island. It runs an extensive re-grassing program, which involves summer and winter cropping, as well as some conversion of forestry land in to pasture.

While Pöttinger suggests as little as 100hp (74.6kW) is required to pull the 3m Terradisc, for this test I had a John Deere 6210R hitched on the front; possibly overkill on the somewhat flat paddock we were in, but the operator says it is definitely required on some of the farm’s steeper country.

The ground to be worked was winter crop that had been grazed off. While there was only a small amount of trash left on the surface, the ground was fairly compact after having cows on it.

The plan was for one or two passes to be completed in order to create a seed bed for grass that was to be sown with a Hazenbichler air seeder mounted on the back of the machine.

 

Pöttinger Terradisc 3001 Structure

 Pottinger -Terradisc -3001_P1030688

The main frame is made of box section beams, while a sturdy headstock at the front couples the machine closely to the back of the tractor. Category2 pins are used with a variety of holes for different mounting positions.

Twenty-four scalloped discs of 580mm diameter are arranged at opposing angles in two rows. As each disc is bolted to the bearing housing with four bolts, eventual replacement should be simple while the maintenance-free, sealed twin race taper bearings also helps minimise downtime.

Bearings run on a stub axle which, in turn, is mounted to a slim profile cast iron carrier arm with plenty of clearance for soil to prevent blocking. Carrier arms are then mounted in pairs to the main frame with a wide clamp, which will prevent sideways movement of the discs.

The four rubber elements that are also cleverly squeezed into each clamp will take the shock away from the frame, allowing the disc to ride up if any large obstacles are struck. 

Key to its success are the deflector plates down each side, which ensure all the soil is contained within the width of the roller; this also guarantees a level surface.

 

Pöttinger Terradisc 3001 set-up and width

Set-up is really important. If the machine is trying to crab sideways or leave a ridge out one side, then it’s probably not set up level with one gang of discs cutting deeper than the other.

Although the working width of the machine is 3m, due to the offset nature of the discs and the deflector plates, the actual overall width of the machine is closer to 3.3m.

To ensure you can take it on the road and get it through gateways, the outer sections on either side can be manually folded; a good thing although I’m sure operators will find it a chore to continually fold and unfold them.

 

Pöttinger Terradisc 3001 spring tines

Pottinger -Terradisc -3001_finger -tines _P1030685

Following behind the discs are an optional row of large spring tines. These are well worthwhile in my opinion, although once again set-up is critical. Adjustments can be made using pins, with a series of holes for different heights and angles.

The tines are set just deep enough to push a small amount of soil along in front, so they’ll break clods and level any hollows without blocking up the machine.

 

Pöttinger Terradisc 3001 roller

Cleverly the roller on the back of the machine is mounted in its own separate frame, which pivots off the main frame.

Two hydraulic rams are used to lift the roller up and down, controlling the working depth of the discs. Five millimetre thick shims on a hinge system alongside the ram spears are a simple yet effective way of fine tuning the depth.

The fact they are on a hinge means they’re always connected to the machine and there’s little chance of them getting lost.

As for the actual roller on the back, Pöttinger offers a choice of five different roller combinations for the Terradisc, including a crumbler, packer ring and rubber roller, so there’s something to suit all conditions.

The test machine was fitted with the most common packer ring roller. This uses deep steel packer rings, which do an excellent job of further breaking up soil in order to leave a firm corrugated seed bed that will promote water absorption.

It has also proven ideal when the machine is fitted with a seeder like this one; a drawbar fitted to the back by the owners is used to pull another roller to complete the one-pass operation.

 

Pöttinger Terradisc 3001: setback

One problem I noticed with the Terradisc was due to its length when working on undulating ground; the discs will cut in too deep or come out of the ground as the machine rides over humps and through hollows.

The hydraulic depth adjustment can be used if you’re quick on the controls to minimise this although it is always going to be a problem.

 

The Verdict

The Pöttinger Terradisc is an exceptionally well-built and thought-out machine. Thanks to its simple nature, maintenance and running costs will remain low.

There’s little doubt in my mind the concept of this machine is well suited to situations relevant in Australia and New Zealand.

On the pumice country found at Totara Valley, the Terradisc is an ideal machine to work the thin layer of topsoil without disturbing the underlying pumice.

Just two passes with the Terradisc alone left an excellent seed bed. Although there are a wide variety of soil conditions across the country I imagine that in most situations a single pass after discing, ploughing or ripping would create a more than adequate seed bed.

Pöttinger Terradisc 3001 Hits:

  • High output due to high forward speeds
  • Simple and robust construction
  • Low running costs
  • Sealed maintenance free bearings
  • Hydraulically controlled working depth

Pöttinger Terradisc 3001 Misses:

  • Length of the machine causes the discs to ride out of the ground in hollows
  • Although the machine has a three metre working width, it still needs to be folded for transport

 

Pöttinger Terradisc 3001 Specifications

Make/model: Pöttinger Terradisc 3001

Working width: 3m

Transport width: 3m

No. of discs: 24

Disc diameter: 580mm

Disc spacing: 125mm

Power requirement: 95hp (70.8kW)

Weight (including roller): 2,080kg

 

For the full test report, pick up a copy of New Farm Machinery magazine issue 19 when it goes on-sale March 2. Subscribe to the magazine to have it delivered.

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