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From Deep Ripping to Seeding: Why the Agrowplow Flexi-Roller is the Ultimate Soil Roller

The Agrowplow Flexi-Roller is a versatile and essential tool for anyone serious about soil care. From deep ripping to seeding, it can help you achieve optimal seedbed results and improve the overall health of your soil. Whether you're a seasoned pro or just starting out, investing in an Agrowplow Flexi-Roller is a smart choice that can help you achieve greater success in your farming operations.

From Deep Ripping to Seeding: Why the Agrowplow Flexi-Roller is the Ultimate Soil Roller

The process of improving soil quality, known as soil amelioration, can be achieved through methods such as deep ripping, which breaks up hard, compacted soil. However, this practice can leave the soil surface uneven and soft. To ensure optimal crop growth, a weighted roller should be used either during the same pass as the plough or in a separate pass to level the surface. 

The use of a roller provides additional benefits such as breaking up soil clods, conserving soil moisture, removing air-pockets, and improving the trafficability for seeding machinery by reducing inter-row ridges caused by the tynes, leading to better sowing depth control and seed-soil contact for improved seed germination. 

There are five general types of rolling equipment, each designed to achieve specific results and soil finishes based on factors like soil type, moisture content, and stubble levels. These include drum rollers, hydraulic cage rollers, coil packers, ring rollers, and Cambridge rollers (also known as cultipackers), such as the Agrowplow Flexi-Roller. Each kind has unique characteristics such as width, diameter, weight, material, teeth, and alignment.

In this article, we explore the many benefits of the Agrowplow Flexi-Roller for use after deep ripping or following seeding.

 A flexi-roller smoothing the soil behind a deep ripper

A Cambridge roller, such as the Agrowplow Flexi-Roller is used to smooth the soil after deep ripping or seeding to create a firm, level seedbed.

What is the Flexi-Roller and how does it work?

The Flexi-Roller is Agrowplow's take on the traditional cultipacker - also known as a Cambridge roller, or sometimes a crumble roller. Cultipackers are heavy rollers with a series of individually rotating cast rings on a single axle. They are used to roll over the soil after it has been tilled or ploughed to form an even, smooth, and firm finish.

The Flexi-Roller is designed to break up dirt clods and level the seedbed prior to seeding with rotating rings that have protruding iron cleats. Because the rings leave grooves in the soil, moisture is retained improving soil health, and improves the soil's resistance to erosion. Following seeding, the Flexi-roller can be used again to press the seed into the seed bed to create good seed-to-soil contact and maximise seed germination.

The importance of using a roller after deep ripping

Deep ripping is an essential part of any soil preparation process. It helps to break up compacted layers of soil, improve drainage, and create a more favorable environment for plant growth. However, deep ripping alone is not enough to achieve optimal results. After deep ripping, it is essential to use an implement like the Agrowplow Flexi-Roller to create a firm, level seedbed. The roller follows behind the plough, pressing the soil back down and creating a firm seedbed that is perfect for planting.

An Agrowplow AP71 with trailing Flexi-Roller

Flexi-Rollers can come as a trailing option that can be towed behind a deep ripper plough for single pass use.

Using the Flexi-Roller after deep ripping

Utilising the Flexi-Roller following deep ripping can help to achieve a few different goals:

  1. Soil compaction: Deep ripping can leave the soil surface loose and fluffy, which can make it difficult for seeds to make good contact with the soil. By running a Flexi-Roller over the surface, you can help to compact the soil slightly, creating a better seedbed.
  2. Seedbed preparation: Flexi-Rollers can also help create a smooth, level seedbed by breaking up clumps of soil and smoothing out rough spots.
  3. Water retention: Compacting the soil slightly with the roller can also help to improve water retention, as the soil will be less porous and better able to hold onto moisture.

To summarise, by using the Flexi-Roller after deep ripping, you can ensure that the soil is properly compressed and that there are no air pockets left behind. This creates a more stable seedbed and helps to promote even seed germination. Additionally, the Flexi-Roller helps to create a smooth surface that is easier to plant into, reducing the risk of seed placement errors.

The benefits of using a roller after seeding

Using a heavy roller after seeding provides a range of benefits for your crops. The rollers help to press the seeds firmly into the soil, ensuring good seed-to-soil contact and promoting even germination. This is particularly important for smaller seeds, which can easily become dislodged or buried too deeply if not properly planted.

Additionally, the roller helps to create a firm seedbed that is less susceptible to erosion and other environmental factors. This can help to improve the overall health of your crops and reduce the risk of yield loss due to soil erosion or other factors.

Trailing Flexi-Roller behind Agrowdrill AD230

Flexi-Rollers can be trailed behind seed drills to give the perfect seedbed finish after planting.

Using the Flexi-Roller after seeding

Running a Flexi-Roller over the soil after planting can be beneficial for several reasons, including:

  1. Seed-to-soil contact: Ensures good seed-to-soil contact, which is essential for successful germination. By rolling over the soil after seeding, the Flexi-Roller presses the seeds into the soil, helping to ensure that they are in contact with the moisture and nutrients they need to grow.
  2. Seedbed finish: Cultipackers help to create a smooth, firm seedbed finish, which can help to promote more uniform seed germination and growth.
  3. Soil compaction: Slight compaction of the soil with a roller after seeding can help to improve seed germination rates by reducing air pockets around the seeds. The compacted soil will also retain moisture better, which is important for seedling growth.

Advantages of the Agrowplow Flexi-Roller

One of the key benefits of the Flexi-Roller is its ability to work in a variety of soil types. The Flexi Roller is a versatile unit that can be used for multiple purposes, with its rings able to be utilized in either direction. When in aggressive mode, the Flexi Roller can break up clods and mulch topsoil and is also effective in breaking up the crust that forms on newly seeded soil after rain. In passive mode, the rings provide a pressing and firming action. To switch between modes, the procedure is straightforward; simply remove three locking pins and swing the tow bar 180 degrees.

Diagram of the different direction of travel for the Flexi-Roller's aggressive and passive modes

The rings of the Flexi-Roller can be reversed depending on the soil conditions for aggressive or passive rolling modes.

When working on undulating terrain, using wide and inflexible rollers can lead to inconsistent packing, as the roller may not be in contact with the soil throughout its entire length. The rings on the Flexi Roller, however, are designed to move up and down in a vertical plane to follow the contours of the earth, providing maximum ground contact and ensuring the best possible seedbed finish. Optimal results can be achieved by ensuring that the entire weight of the machine is supported by the roller rings.

The working height of a trailing Flexi Roller is controlled by the hydraulic rams attached to the wheel assemblies. These are operated by the remote hydraulic system.

Finally, the precision engineering and rugged durability of the Flexi-Roller set it apart from other tools on the market. It is designed to withstand the toughest conditions and provide reliable performance season after season. This makes it a smart investment for any farmer who wants to achieve optimal results in the field.

Frequently Asked Questions

How do I tow a Flexi-Roller?

Flexi-Rollers come as trailing options that can be towed behind any machine or plough that has a rear-tow hitch installed. The Flexi-Roller can also be directly hitched to the tractor for single-pass use. 

For seeding operations, the Flexi-Roller can be trailed behind all models in the Agrowdrill seed drill range to give the perfect seedbed finish after planting. This configuration avoids having to run extra passes over the field, which saves time, reduces unnecessary soil compaction, and minimises overheads such as fuel and labour costs.

What are the sizes available?

There are many lengths to suit any sized farm, with a range of working-widths that allow the implementation to suit your specific needs. The trailing Flexi-Roller Mk2 is best for shorter working widths from 1.65 m up to 5.5 m. For the higher performance and durability required for larger working widths from 4.5 m to 7.5 m, the Flexi-Roller Mk2 HD is perfect. Mounted units are available to suit the AP31.

Flexi-Rollers may be ordered with or without a hydraulic transport kit that aids in relocating the implement along sealed roads or for extended trips.

How fast should I operate the Flexi-Roller?

The optimum operating speed of the Flexi Roller will vary depending on the task. Generally, lower speeds will be required in the passive mode, as this will provide less soil disturbance for firming actions. Conversely, operating at higher speeds in the aggressive mode will increase soil surface disturbance and hence clod shattering. High speeds will also increase wear on the roller rings.

Where can I find out more about the Flexi-Roller?

Machine features, full specifications and operators and parts manuals are available to view and download from our website. Alternatively for existing owners, Flexi-Roller spare parts can be purchased via our online store. 

Where can I buy the Agrowplow Flexi-Roller?

If you're interested in purchasing an Agrowplow Flexi-Roller for your farming operation, there are over 120 authorized Agrowplow dealerships Australia-wide. As the Flexi-Roller is designed to last many seasons, there is also a strong chance of picking up a good condition used Flexi-Roller on the second-hand market.

Previous article Exploring The Benefits of Shank Options for Deep Ripping
Agrowplow AP81 broadacre plough with shanks in soil towed behind John Deere tracked tractor

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