Spearhead: Starcut blade system makes stubble management more cost effective

Spearhead's Stubble Master - combine capacity can be increased by 20% by leaving 10cm longer stubble and chopping it down later
Spearhead’s Stubble Master – combine capacity can be increased by 20% by leaving 10cm longer stubble and chopping it down later.

Spearhead Machinery’s Starcut blade system – that was awarded an Agritechnica Silver Medal for innovation in 2007 – was designed to create a more cost-effective and environmentally friendly approach towards the management of crop stubble residue and cover crops.

Giving precise pulverisation, whilst requiring lower tractor power than competitive fixed knife designs, Starcut delivers ultimate efficiency and performance. This reduces fuel consumption and increases forward speed.

The Starcut Blade System cuts the stubble at two different heights, delivering a minimum of nine cuts per rotation. The first row of blades incorporates Spearhead’s coveted high updraught lift system that provides maximum suction to lift material into the cutting zone while contributing towards mixing soil and dust with the mulched residue. This accelerates decomposition.

A second, longer row of blades in a higher plane, are dual edged and flat. They batter and mulch the material under the smooth, flat deck to provide an unrivalled chop length.

Starcut’s mulching performance helps micro-organisms to flourish, releasing important nutrients back into the soil. It’s also less likely fungus and diseases will carry over, contributing to higher yields in the following season.

Spearhead's Starcut blade system, with its dual-level cutting, delivers a minimum of nine cuts per rotation
Spearhead’s Starcut blade system, with its dual-level cutting, delivers a minimum of nine cuts per rotation.

Spearhead has worked closely with European farmers and internationally acclaimed universities to develop the company’s Stubble Management Principles. These set out the following list of benefits from introducing effective stubble management as an important aspect of their harvest regime:

  • Faster harvest – complete combining faster by raising the header, mulching instead with the mower outside of the harvest window.
  • Long stubble after the combine – the capacity of the combine can be incereased by about 20 per cent when the header is raised by just 10cm. In years when there’s increased rainfall, this can provide a distinct output benefit.
  • Working hours and diesel use – The Starcut blade system is highly regarded for its pulverisation and distribution of the chopped material. With a forward speed of approximately 15km/hr, the ground can be covered much faster during harvest. Even when adding a secondary process of tractor and mower, diesel consumption is still reduced by turning off the combine chopper.
  • Faster decomposition – Mixing chopped stubble with dust and soil accelerates decomposition. Microorganisms flourish, prompting a controlled release of nutrients from the decaying organic material. This in turn reduces fungus and disease transfer and benefits the structure of the soil.
  • Stubble residue distribution – As combines get bigger, it can be difficult to distribute processed straw across the full header width, especially in windy conditions. Running the Flex Wing mower diagonally across the ground chops and mulches leftover material closer to the soil and across the full width of the machine.
  • Pests and insects – Stubble management has successfully managed pests. Chopping and flaring the lower stalk of maize plants has a particular role in destroying pest habitat.
  • Waste seed activation – Stubble management is especially effective in rapeseed as it activates waste seeds. The chopped stubble forms a productive carpet and retains the exact moisture required for spilled rapeseeds to become active. This helps crop development in the following year.
  • Grass seed management – Traditionally, Spearhead Flex Wing mowers have been used to manage grass seed fields. Using the Starcut Blade System allows cutting even closer to the ground creating a better mulch.

www.stubblemanagement.com | www.spearheadmachinery.com