Friday, 17 May 2019 10:25

Aerator helps repair pugged paddocks

Written by  Mark Daniel
Duncan Alstrong Aerator. Duncan Alstrong Aerator.

The Alstrong Aerator enables farmers and contractors to get better pasture growth by aerating the upper levels of paddocks, says the national distributor, the Duncan division of Giltrap Engineering.

Three versions are available: two trailed models of 2.5m or 3m working widths, and a 3m, three-point linkage model.

A unique blade design, working with a weight transfer system, shatters hard pan to a depth of 300mm with minimal surface disturbance. The blades are set almost perpendicular to the direction of travel but at a slight angle, which adds a twisting motion that helps break soil pan. 

The weight of the roller is concentrated on each blade as it enters the soil. Working speeds up to 20km/h also help to shock and fracture the soil.

Duncan chief executive Craig Mulgrew says aerating pasture “reduces the effects of compaction by stock and equipment, helps increase tolerance to drought, releases nitrogen in the soil and improves surface drainage”.

Marlborough dairy farmer Nigel Morrison, who milks 240 cows on 84ha (eff), bought an Alstrong Aerator a year ago to deal with pugging in his paddocks after a wet winter. 

“We get a bit of pugging through the winter and wanted to open the soil up and let a bit of air through,” Morrison says. “We were looking for a big roller but when we saw the Alstrong we realised we could do two things with one machine.”

Working trial and error, he discovered what speed was needed to work different soil conditions and leave the best finish. 

“We treat paddocks that look like the water is laying on them,” he says. “The aerator certainly improved the ability of the ground to drain off surface water. It appears to produce better drainage.

“We use it for pasture, mainly in the spring to try to get some aeration after winter. We also use heavy discs to work up paddocks for cropping and have used the aerator behind the discs to break the soil up more.”

Morrison also winter grazes cows on 14ha for about 40 days, where the grass takes a fair hiding, particularly when it’s wet. The aerator helped renovate that area. 

It has worked 30ha of the farm during the growing season.

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