Driving impression: Amazone Centaur 7001-2 Super Amazone has expanded its Centaur cultivator range to suit higher horsepower tractors. For 2010 there will be Super and Special ranges from 3m-7m working width, with the new 6m and 7m models to be formally unveiled at Agritechnica in November; UK availability is from spring next year. Here we try a pre-production Centaur 7001 Super

The twin Amazone Centaur lines offer cultivation trains for different soils. ‘Specials’ are aimed at mixed farms with low-to-medium yielding soils, where straw is baled and powered combo drilling follows.

Carrying out the work are three rows of tines, a single gang of discs and wedge-type tyre packer. The ‘Super’ variants follow the same pattern but then add to it, putting four rows of tines, along with two gangs of discs, ahead of the packer; Amazone says these models are intended for min-till working on higher-yielding soils, where the straw is left in the field and drilling does not involve powered cultivation. Substantial changes mark out the new machines.

These include front wheels instead of a leading tyre press, greater underbeam clearance – it’s now 105cm – individual twin pressure springs for each tine rather than spring tines, and a redesigned rear section that uses the press wheels for transport duties rather than the previous dedicated road wheels. Originally a leading press section was used for accurate depth control during shallow stubble incorporation. But the Centaur’s emphasis has since shifted to deeper working, making the press redundant. The new front end can feature simple support wheels (in which case front working depth is set by the tractor’s linkage) or proper depth wheels, which themselves look after the machine’s front end. Where this set-up is specified, the tractor’s linkage can still transfer some weight to boost traction.

Overall weight is now significantly lower, says the maker, thanks to savings up front and the switch away from a separate transport axle. On headlands the Centaur rolls on all its rear press tyres; on the road the 7m version driven here employs four of the centre section’s six wheels. Tine break-back has been updated, too. Spring tines have been ousted in favour of Amazone’s 3-D versions, which can move sideways, up and back thanks to a simple but clever pivot. Twin horizontal springs hold the tine at working depth — claimed to be up to 35cm — until draught load on it passes 500kg, at which point the springs allow progressive deflection and reset.

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