AerWay cultivator Machines that put slits in grass to provide aeration are fairly commonplace, whereas kit for doing a similar job in arable ground…? Rather less popular, is perhaps the best summation. A Canadian firm reckons the slitting technique has the potential to bring substantial tillage benefits, as Andy Collings reports.

Let it be stressed from the start: Those producers who have invested heavily in enormous tillage machines and equally large tractors to pull them are unlikely to enjoy reading this article. And why’s that? A Canadian company has introduced to the UK a cultivation system that is claimed to achieve notable results yet costs less and requires a relatively lower powered tractor as the prime mover.

At first sight, the AerWay appears to be no more than a pretty conventional grass slitting implement – sturdier, wider and heavier perhaps than your average turf going machine but, nonetheless, still a slitting machine. And, to be fair, there is no reason why it should not be used for grass slitting which is, after all, an important operation for maintaining valuable turf and one that needs to be performed at regular intervals.

Yet the Canadian designers of the AerWay had bigger and more ambitious plans for their implement. They wanted it to not only aerate the soil but also to cultivate ground to a depth of up to 20cm. If this could be achieved, they reasoned, the machine could form the core element in a low-cost crop establishment regime. So, let’s have a closer look at the AerWay cultivator, which is currently available in working widths of 8ft (2.4m), 10ft (3m), 15ft (4.6m) and 20ft (6.1m) – and probably very much wider in its home Canadian
market. The machine we tried out was a 15ft (4.6m) version.

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