Review: He-Va tip roller

By: Jaiden Drought, Photography by: Justin Bennett

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Farm Trader NZ’s Jaiden Drought set out to meet a contractor who couldn’t stop singing the praises of his new He-Va tip roller

The new He-Va tip roller
Hard to believe given the amount of dust, but there was a surprising amount of soil moisture, which the unit coped well with
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Canterbury is the ideal place to see machinery like this in action, and you know that if a local contractor is happy with the machine, that it’s a solid piece of kit. It has to be for this landscape – stones as far as the eye can see, with tillage metal in the ground just about wearing before your eyes. It needs to be built to take a hammering in these harsh conditions.

He-Va tip rollers are more than just an ordinary roller. The unit doesn’t just roll, it cultivates, levels, and consolidates. With working widths from 4.5 metres to 20.3 metres (King roller) and a multitude of different combination possibilities, He-Va tip rollers are definitely versatile.

When you think of machines such as rollers and post drivers, which are relatively straightforward in terms of design, you tend to think that they either work or they don’t and that there’s nothing too complex about them. But there’s a lot more to a machine like this than meets the eye and it’s the small details that set the great machines apart from the average. When you see the He-Va in action, it’s obvious what an outstanding job it does in a variety of soil types and contour.

This particular 6.3-metre machine is one of the two combination units that Chris Swanson Contracting uses to cover the hundreds of hectares he works on and it really comes into its own when the going gets tough.

Some key features worth noting are its narrow transport width, working width, ring options, and contour following, all of which we’ll look at it in more detail.

James McCloy from EuroAgri talking Farm Trader’s Jaiden Drought through the machine specs
James McCloy from EuroAgri talking Farm Trader’s Jaiden Drought through the machine specs

Transport width

The He-Va tip roller folds up and forward to provide a narrow 2.45-metre width, with even weight distribution during transport. Larger 400/60x15.5 tyres bring added stability, ideal for some of the gravel roads in Canterbury, to take the pressure off the tyres (no pun intended).

Working width

Available in a variety of working widths from 4.5 metres to 20.3 metres, our test machine was 6.3 metres, weighing in at just over 4,600kg.

Ring options

Our test machine was spec’d with 610mm 10 spoke rings for additional weight, strength and longevity as well as doing a better job of consolidation in the process. The soil we worked on during the test was a little bit sticky after being irrigated at one end of the paddock, but the breaker rings still provided a nice finish without any material sticking to the machine.

Another benefit of the breaker rings is that the main ring and the breaker are sort of ‘sloppy’ on the shaft. This allows them to move, smashing clods and sods or if they hit an obstacle rather than smashing, there is some movement there. This could be another reason these combos just keep punching out the hectares, with Swanson sharing that he has only ever broken two rings during the life of both his combo set-ups, which, given the terrain he works on, is highly impressive.

Speaking of slop and shafts, the standard spec is a 60mm shaft (not going to break in a hurry), and if the slop gets a bit much, the two-piece tightening clamps on each end allow this to be adjusted.

Stone trays are fitted as standard and can be emptied hydraulically from the tractor seat. The rolls are also all hydraulically operated from the tractor seat using two double-acting services. There is a choice of five ring types, along with three ‘boards’, which can be fitted in front of the rolls for additional cultivation action.

Centre pivot outer wings enable great contour following
Centre pivot outer wings enable great contour following

Contour following

The fact the machine is split into three sections enables the centre pivoting wings to allow for excellent contour following. Another notable feature is the unique Spring Active Transfer (SAT) system. Instead of hydraulic down pressure with nitrogen accumulators, the SAT system simply uses a pressurised spring to hold equal ground pressure across the width of the machine regardless of contour. The beauty here is that it’s a ‘set and forget’ system, so no pesky operator can adjust the hydraulic pressure and put you up the proverbial creek.

Other options

Like most machines these days (particularly from Europe), a multitude of options are available. The most popular are levelling paddles or a seedbox. While our test machine wasn’t equipped with a seedbox, as another dedicated drill did this, the levelling paddles are a must-have I believe, as they completely transform the machine.

Options are available with flat paddles, slicing points, or a quick-change option (if you wanted to get carried away and change them between jobs). Either way, they make a bang-up job of the final pass of a paddock, particularly when towed in conjunction with the disc roller type combo we had on our hands.

Having a dolly in between the roller and disc roller works well, taking the weight off the rear of the disc roller, although, backing three pivoting points can be a little tricky, particularly if you’re a bit dusty on this kind of reversing. Swanson runs two of these purely to cover the ground, instead of running one machine for 24 hours and simply not being able to cover the hectares.

The He-Va tip roller Making quick work of covering the hectares
Making quick work of covering the hectares

Verdict

A common theme during the trip was how highly everyone rated the back-up support from EuroAgri. It almost sounded like price never came into the equation. Because of such good back-up support and confidence in purchasing a high-quality machine at a competitive price, Swanson keeps coming back for more.

In the throwaway society we seem to work in these days, machines that last the distance will always be sought-after. The biggest selling point for me is the fact these rings have a five-year warranty. Combined with quality back-up support and quality finish in the paddock, there aren’t too many guys looking elsewhere once they’ve got their first He-Va.

PLUSES

  • Five-year warranty on rings
  • Spring Active Transfer pressure system
  • Multiple ring options
  • 60mm shaft
  • Heavy-duty construction
  • Stone trays (looks like tool boxes mounted on the top)
  • Forward folding for better weight distribution during transport
  • Multiple hydraulic levelling paddle options
  • Teflon hinges both top and bottom on the wings both pivot and folding to increase the life span of the machine.

MINUSES

  • A downside of the weight of the machine and the forward folding is a dolly needing to be run on this set up to reduce axle loading on the rear of the disc roller

Working width (m)

Weight (kg) w/24" Breaker rings

Weight (kg)
Levelling boars

Weight (kg)
Levelling tines

4.5

2,810

420

18

5.4

3,240

485

22

6.3

4,190

550

24

7.3

4,580

630

28

8.2

5,200

695

32

9.5

6,350

845

38

10.2

6,850

880

40

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