This article is based upon a machine that can help improve soil potential by a method of reducing soil compaction.
Approximately 15 years ago a then young Co. Down man by the name of David McCoubrey saw an opening in the market with the need for a simple yet effective method of reducing soil compaction without erupting the surface of the field. Much of this soil compaction was due to poor weather conditions, fields over stocked with livestock and off course heavy machinery with inadequate wheel coverage.
Necessity is the mother of invention and so David decided to built, test and market a machine that would do just this and at an affordable price proportional to the end result and benefit to the farmer. His creation was all that he wanted it to be and that is simple, effective, easy to pull, easy to use and with good end results. Then came the question of what do we call the thing. Well as it was a soil engaging machine David decided on the name EARTH with the A removed “ERTH”. Thankfully today many people that own one would gladly give it an “A” for its results. The model name was again soil related as its primary function was to break open the sealed soil surface, hence the Pan buster. Currently Erth manufacture pneumatic seeders and pan busters however this article will only look at the Panbuster.
The four legged pan buster has a leg spacing of 24 inches and the three legged model has a leg spacing of 37 inches. Over the years the four leg machine has always been the preferred choice for most farmers however today the trend has shifted to more new orders being taken for the three leg machine. This is due to three main factors, one is price and the others are the three legged machine still provides a good soil lift and does not require a heavy high horse power tractor to pull it. The four legs on the Panbuster are mounted on a rubber sleeved pin. This design allows for a large theoretic side to side lateral movement of 16 inches at the leading toe edge. This ensures the machine can deflect around large stones buried beneath the surface. If the leading toe point comes straight into contact with a large stone an independent leg break away allows for a massive vertical break away of 18 inches. Each leg has an auto reset characteristic which will allow for automatic re-entry into the soil. The break away hydraulic pressure is easily set using the tractor’s own hydraulics for light or heavy soil conditions.
Replacing the wearing parts are simple with the legs having a reversible wear shin. To operate the machine simply drive then fully lower the three point linkage into the ground then control the working depth with the rear 16 inch diameter smooth roller. A good average working depth is 10 to 12 inches. If the field has piped drains that are filled very close to the surface with stones it is advised that you travel with the direction of the drain so as to maximise the surface lift. This will reduce the risk of creating an undulating surface on the field surface as stones cannot provide lift rather just a slicing through effect.
To ensure a clean and tidy exit out of the ground the rear roller is progressively lowered while continuing to drive when the four legs are clear of the ground then raise the lift arms. While you carry out a headland manoeuvre or are reversing to the starting point again the rear roller can be raised to the previously set working depth indicated by a simple gauge in preparation for lowering the machine into the ground for the next pass.
An adjustable scrapper is set to keep the roller clean. The rear roller is also hydraulically dampened to provide good field floatation and also to reduce bounce impact on the roads. Generally when you finish the field all that should be visible are the surface slice lines of the leading cutter disc and leg shin. Erth pan buster will provide you, the customer, with a neat finish and most importantly improved soil quality and free drainage. The machine looks simple and by all means is simple but most importantly it works. It must be said that this machine is not the complete answer to wet ground and if your ground needs drained well then drain it, but this machine allows the ground to breathe and stimulates growth. In the process it also improves the natural drainage of the field.
Erth Engineering sell hundreds of these machines every year with new markets opening up and existing markets in New Zealand and the Netherlands continuing to grow. The main market off course is still the home market of the UK and Ireland.Erth Engineering has a many dealers here in Ireland. One dealer that has sold a lot of these machines this year is T. McFarland Agri Machinery in Fintona, Co. Tyrone.
Two main contributing factors that have led to increased sales was the terrible weather of 2017 and also the grant scheme that was available this year for grounds care equipment.
The three legged pan buster is priced at £7250and the four legged machine is priced at £8900.
For more information on all the products manufactured by Erth please visit their website www.erthengineering.co.uk or telephone 02844811211.
David will be more than happy to answer any questions you may have on these machines or their suitability to your requirements.