Review: Brookfield Chainbar

By: Jaiden Drought

Presented by

Designed for Australian soil conditions, the Brookfield Chainbar is a solid but versatile machine that makes short work of drought-hardened soils.

Brookfield chainbar working in Australia
We had a big red tractor yoked to the Brookfield D90 Chainbar


  • Vast working width
  • Options to suit all tractor power, soil type and conditions
  • Simple robust design
  • Little to go wrong
  • Good trash flow
  • Heavy nature of the chain gives good soil penetration



  • It takes two passes with the Chainbar to create the levelling/ tilth creation of more traditional disc machines. This will be at the expense of moisture, which is often undesirable.

This review took us to Toowoomba, a lovely Queensland town famed for its rich volcanic soil.

We had come to checkout a famous Aussie cultivation tool, the Brookfield Chainbar. This made Harrison extremely excited as we had a big red tractor yoked to the D90 Chainbar in a big paddock to play in. The farmer was also happy as we couldn’t get anywhere near his fences; his valuable farm infrastructure was safe!


For those unfamiliar with the big orange machine or what a Chainbar does, the easiest way to explain how it works is this: imagine discs linked together in four sections to make a square. Then imagine the square is turned 45 degrees so that one of the corners is facing the back of the tractor. This then allows each side of the ‘square’ to be pulled at 45 degrees creating a chopping and cutting action.

Naturally there are a number of options for working width, starting at the D40, which is a 4m folding version, right up to the D185D, which is a (60 ft) 18.5m, 13.5-tonne beast that when folded looks like a combination of a Transformer and Steve Irwin with a large python draped around his shoulders.

In terms of the design itself, it is solid yet simple and very clever in the way that it folds. All nine models come in under 5m for transport which, given its up to 18.5m working width, is an engineering marvel in itself.

The Brookfield D60 chainbar is made for Aussie conditions
The Brookfield D60 is designed for Australian soil conditions


Australian cultivation differs from many other parts of the world. Mainly due to the vast, expansive paddocks as well as the often-challenging hard soil conditions compounded by crippling droughts. The Australian designed and built Chainbar offers a cost-effective solution.

During our test we were pulling the D90, which is a 30 ft (9.2m) Brookfield, with a 150 horsepower (112kW) tractor. If you were doing more traditional cultivation types like we see back home in New Zealand or in many European countries, you would have that sized tractor for a 3m machine. The other major benefit of the Chainbar apart from low horsepower requirements per metre working width, is the simplicity of the machine from an R&M and cost of ownership prospective.

The Chainbar is highly efficient, covering large areas in a short space of time. For many it is an effective weed control tool, both from a cultivation perspective and to incorporate chemicals so that they have good contact with the weeds and get a much cleaner, more even kill.

Optional extras include a small seed applicator so you can seed while you cultivate, or a chemical application kit so you can be spraying the weeds and incorporating it for a truly one pass machine.

The type of tough drought-riddled forage or crop residue that it will encounter would be considered quite difficult cultivation conditions, particularly for machines with poor trash flow. The Chainbar simply cuts through trash due to the weight of the machine. It has excellent penetration in hard ground. While it doesn't create a huge amount of soil movement, it does create enough tilth to give good seed to soil contact while not exposing too much soil to lose any of that valuable moisture and expose it to wind erosion. For many, what little topsoil there is there is the most valuable asset on the farm.

The Chains of the Brookfield chainbar
The different chain types offer different disc types, the number of discs and the weight of the chain


The Brookfield Chainbar has seven different chain options that will match the type of tillage you are trying to achieve as well as the many varying soil types around the country.

The different chain types offer different disc types, the number of discs and the weight of the chain. Also, more importantly for a lot of people, the horsepower required to pull varies considerably. On the D90 model we tested, the least aggressive PC 18 chain only requires 90hp (67kW) to pull, if we had the most aggressive DC90 chain that would require more than 315hp (235kW).

To put that in perspective, if you had the Big Daddy DC185D with the DC 90 chain it takes the most powerful tractors in the world to pull something like that with over 630hp (470kW) required. But with such a wide working width, hectare efficiency would be almost uncomparable to anything else on the market. Given the vast areas often needed to be worked, the Chainbar is in a league of its own.

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