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Tuesday 25 July 2017

Making waves - Pottinger's new Wave Disc cultivation system

German manufacturer Pottinger has launched a new Wave Disc cultivation system

The Wave Disc will be available on Pottinger's Terrasem seed drills and will also be compatible for models with direct fertilisation.
The Wave Disc will be available on Pottinger's Terrasem seed drills and will also be compatible for models with direct fertilisation.
Derek Casey

Derek Casey

Cost-effective, versatile and convenient is how Pottinger describes its new Wave Disc cultivation tool system used for reduced cultivation seedbed preparation.

The new design was unveiled at a recent press event at Pottinger's seed drill production facility in Bernburg, Germany and will be available for Pottinger's Terrasem seed drills. The system will also be compatible for models with direct fertilisation.

The Wave Disc is not scalloped like a standard cutting disc, but instead has a wavy profile angled in the direction of travel. The idea is to loosen a 45mm wide strip of soil to a depth of about 60mm.

Each disc runs directly in front of the seeding coulters, loosening the ground in the vicinity of the seed, rather than wasting diesel cultivating across the entire with of the drill.

The Wave Disc is not scalloped like a standard cutting disc, instead using a wavy profile angled in the direction of travel.
The Wave Disc is not scalloped like a standard cutting disc, instead using a wavy profile angled in the direction of travel.

The disc throws soil across the untouched ground between the coulters, which covers any weed seedlings that would otherwise compete with the planted seed. Pottinger are calling the design a low-disturbance machine rather than a strip till system, which means in theory you can still drill into ploughing, autumn cultivations or as a direct drill into untouched land.

Pottinger claims there are five key reasons to use reduced cultivation methods:

  • Low disturbance (reduced surface cultivation) in dry regions, in order to move the soil as little as possible and reduce evaporation
  • In wet areas, the damp soil can only be moved very slightly in order to prevent smearing at seed slot level
  • Low disturbance for grass weeds resistant to herbicide applications
  • Sowing early while the soil is still very wet
  • Reducing soil erosion.

Reduced soil movement in wet areas

Wet or waterlogged soil should be moved as little as possible because, in these conditions, smearing can easily take place at the seed slot level, preventing effective drilling.


This problem occurs especially in locations with wet soil such as black soils in the spring or waterlogged soils with limited surface drying.

In these situations, Pottinger's stance is that deep cultivation equipment should not be used below seed slot level. The Wave Disc does not penetrate the lower soil structure and does not move the soil to the side, thereby preventing smearing.

The Wave Disc cultivates the soil in water-saving strips: only the band either side of the seed slot approximately 50mm wide is disturbed.

The rest of the surface remains untouched, providing effective reduction in evaporation as moisture levels are retained by the uncultivated soil. Reducing the cultivation area to strips protects against erosion. Pottinger says sufficient tilth remains for plants to develop perfectly during the germination stage.

Pottinger claims there are big advantages for the Wave Disc in regions where resistance to herbicides is present.

High resistance means that more seeds need to be planted in the slot to suppress weed growth. Low disturbance cultivation reduces the germination trigger of weeds and suppresses vernalisation, even in areas with black grasses. This method brings the rows under control during spring planting, even in regions with extreme resistance to herbicides.

For autumn planting, the Wave Disc is recommended for cultivating areas after preparing a stale seedbed and reducing the tillage intensity of the leading tools to a minimum.

This system can also lead to a later planting date. The minimised soil movement leaves no cavities or clods in the cultivated area, creating poor germination conditions for weeds, especially light dependent germinating weeds like black grass, wild oats and brome.

Because there are no cavities or clods, the possibility for slugs to breed is greatly reduced.

The cultivated strips warm up faster than the undisturbed areas in between.

Consequently, differences in development can be expected between the planted crop and the weeds, giving the planted crop a clear head start (especially in spring).

Because the harvest residues are only moved in the strips contacted by the Wave Disc, the areas between the strips can make water and nutrients available to the crop for longer.

Again, this has a positive influence on the plants since they already have a head start over the weeds, and their roots grow intuitively into the zone between the rows without giving the weeds a chance.

Row spacing

Significant tractor power can be saved thanks to the reduced cultivation intensity. Only narrow loosening in 45mm wide strips is required. Using a row spacing of 12.5cm, only around 36pc of the entire surface is cultivated, while at 16.7cm row spacing it is only 27pc.

The lower draft and resulting (up to) 15pc reduction in power requirement is translated into lower diesel consumption. The Wave Discs have a diameter of 510mm and are available with row spacings of 12.5cm or 16.7cm, which ensure improved clearance and blockage-free work. The working depth is adjusted by a hydraulic system. As a result, it is easy and convenient to regulate the depth in each zone, for example at the headland where the soil may be compacted.

The right choice of row spacing depends on site-specific soil conditions. A row spacing of 12.5cm is more suitable for high-yield locations with homogenous soil properties. The increased rows (17pc more) create better protection for the individual plants.

A bigger row spacing of 16.7cm is recommended for damp soil conditions, heavy soil with a high clay content and very rough structure as well as where there are high quantities of harvest trash residues.

Terrasems start at around €80,000 for the three-metre machine, and there's no extra cost by picking the Wave Disc rather than a standard arrangement.


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