Solid build

Lemken Dolomit/Zirkon combo

Farms & Farm Machinery - - Contents -

Any ex­pe­ri­enced boxer knows a solid left/right combo is good tool to have in your fight­ing arse­nal. In farm­ing terms, a good combo is your baler/wrap­per set-up. I re­cently tested the great combo of a Zirkon 8 three-me­tre power har­row with a three-me­tre Dolomit 9 rip­per mounted in front. Both are pro­duced by Lemken, dis­trib­uted in Aus­tralia by Wil­liam Adams.

Our test site was a re­cently har­vested maize pad­dock just out of Mata­mata in New Zealand’s Waikato re­gion, where the ground needed to be pre­pared for go­ing back into pas­ture. With the lat­est 150hp Kub­ota M7 se­ries hooked on, con­di­tions for ground work were ex­cel­lent. The maize stub­ble had been mulched, re­mov­ing the bulk of the trash, but build-up and block­ages through the day were not an is­sue for the well-built and in­no­va­tive Lemken combo.

Oper­a­tion was pretty straight­for­ward – se­lect 1000 PTO speed. The only down­side of the winged Dolomit rip­per in front of the power har­row was that it was a lit­tle harder to leave the head­lands tidy with­out lift­ing the rip­per legs.

ZIRKON 8 POWER HAR­ROW

Al­ways im­por­tant in a ma­chine that is to spend its life work­ing a va­ri­ety of soils is how well it is built, and whether it can han­dle the tasks while do­ing a good job. A top and bot­tom trough sys­tem makes up the main pro­file on the Zirkon 8 power har­row. This is done for strength, with the hous­ings for the 12 ro­tors welded on in place and drilled

out to en­sure ac­cu­racy and help with bear­ing re­li­a­bil­ity over the ma­chine’s life­time.

Us­ing this sys­tem also means there are no bolts hold­ing bear­ing cas­ings on the bot­tom side for stub­ble or trash to get caught on. Ad­just­ment of the tri­an­gle lev­el­ling bar can be done with a span­ner, which is kept in the tool­box built into the head stock. Like most power har­rows, there is still a chance of rocks mak­ing their way up and try­ing to jam be­tween ro­tors.

A bed of 12 tines cov­ers the three-me­tre work­ing width of the Zirkon 8 model. Lemken power har­rows use a timed se­quence across the bed to pre­vent soil be­ing bull­dozed, which also pro­duces a tidy fin­ish. This also re­quires less horse­power to op­er­ate, is qui­eter, and is eas­ier on the trac­tor and power har­row gear­boxes.

Al­though it may not look like much, a few de­grees can make a lot of dif­fer­ence, par­tic­u­larly in power har­row tines. The Lemken tines’ slight bend al­lows them more to cut the stub­bly trash into the soil as op­posed to hav­ing it keep build­ing up the tines to wrap around the ro­tors, need­ing to clean out at the end of the day.

As a three-me­tre ma­chine with a 170hp-rated gear­box, I would say the Zirkon 8 is aimed at the farmer mar­ket as op­posed to con­trac­tors, which is why I would guess the 300mm bolt-on tines are stan­dard with 320mm quick change tines op­tional, while longer quick-change tines are stan­dard on four- to six-me­tre Zirkon 12 ma­chines.

Lemken power har­rows can have packer rollers fit­ted, as well as scrap­ers, to han­dle dry or wet con­di­tions, plus a va­ri­ety of other op­tions such as bar rollers that can be fit­ted if re­quired.

What I did like about the roller setup on the Zirkon unit we tested was the fact the roller car­riage was at­tached to the lev­el­ling bar, which did away with the need for checking and ad­just­ing. The on-board tool­box built into the head­stock con­tains a dou­ble-ended 24/30mm span­ner, which will fit all the bolts on the Lemken ma­chine. An­other fea­ture of the

lev­el­ling bar is its tri­an­gle shape that helps force soil un­der, rather than be­ing a flat sur­face that can tend to bull­doze.

DOLOMIT 9 RIP­PER

I am a fan of rip­ping soil and re­mov­ing com­paction and al­low­ing air, wa­ter and roots to more freely move through the soil pro­file. But you don’t al­ways need to deep rip, which is quite an ex­pen­sive job.

Cou­pling the Dolomit 9 rip­per pre-loosener to the Zirkon power har­row gives the abil­ity to com­plete cul­ti­va­tion in a sin­gle pass oper­a­tion, sav­ing time and fuel.

With the me­chan­i­cal ac­tion of rip­ping the soil first, effort to drive the power har­row is de­creased, re­duc­ing to­tal fuel re­quired if you were to com­plete an­other pass with a pri­mary tillage im­ple­ment.

The four rip­per legs of the Dolomit unit can be ad­justed in­de­pen­dently while at­tached to the power har­row to work to deeper or lesser depths, de­pend­ing on soil types, pans and com­paction.

The 60cm-wide, one-piece wing de­sign cov­ers the en­tire width of the power har­row. The hard­ened tips rip through the soil ap­prox­i­mately 50mm deeper than the wings, pre­vent­ing a pan form­ing, shat­ter­ing the soil to over the wings and up into the fol­low­ing power har­row tines. Cou­pling close be­hind the trac­tor de­creases the weight hang­ing out fur­ther when used in con­junc­tion with a power har­row.

The Dolomit 9 model weighs in at 430kg, while the Zirkon 8 power har­row is 785kg. Horse­power re­quire­ment for the rip­per alone is sim­i­lar to a 3m power har­row – 80 to 170.

Op­er­at­ing in tan­dem will re­quire more horse­power, plus weight to drag the four an­chors through the ground. We had that sorted; the new Kub­ota 150hp M7 se­ries was hooked on with a de­cent weight block on the front link­age.

Al­though de­signed to work in con­junc­tion with Lemken power har­rows, the Dolomit rip­per has a va­ri­ety of mount­ings to suit other brands. It also comes with an ex­tra length of PTO shaft, as the orig­i­nal will be too short to reach the ex­tra 500mm.

THE BOT­TOM LINE

If you hadn’t guessed by now, I am a fan of com­bi­na­tion ma­chines which make jobs faster and more ef­fi­cient. The Dolomit 9 and Zirkon 8 to­gether tick the boxes in this re­gard. Other agro­nomic ben­e­fits in­clude not repack­ing the loos­ened soil back down with the sec­ond trac­tor pass, and the power har­row be­ing able to work the soil evenly to pre­pare the ground for sow­ing.

From the test ma­chine, the ad­di­tion of a seeder unit to make it into a true one-pass ma­chine is a pretty sim­ple ad­di­tion.

The qual­ity and build of the Lemken prod­ucts re­ally im­pressed me, with some of the sim­ple de­sign fea­tures mak­ing a big dif­fer­ence to per­for­mance and func­tion of what is oth­er­wise a pretty nor­mal power har­row.

Main pic: The Dolomit-Zirkon combo ticks all the boxes

1: Handy tools are pro­vided in an on­board tool­box built into the head­stock

2: A welded two-piece bed pro­vides

a strong, sim­ple de­sign 1

2

HITS

Com­bi­na­tion ma­chine, ca­pa­ble of com­plet­ing more jobs in one pass, with air seeder

Qual­ity, well-built ma­chine with in­no­va­tive fea­tures

Lev­el­ling board and rear roller mounted to­gether, sav­ing time on ad­just­ments

MISSES

Quick change tines as an op­tion, bolt-on stan­dard

Width of wings may be an is­sue in poorer soil con­di­tions

4

4: Lemken’s Zirkon 8 power har­row and Dolomit 9 rip­per combo at­tached to the lat­est 150hp Kub­ota M7 se­ries trac­tor

5: Swept Lemken tines help work

or­ganic mat­ter into the soil

6: View from the Kub­ota of the

Lemken unit in ac­tion 5

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