There’s a growing range of weeding tools now on the UK market. As an example of the breed, Austrian firm APV has come up with the Vario VS precision tine harrow, which can better adapt to ridges and beds than a simpler comb harrow
While the traditional comb harrow is quite capable of mechanically weeding cereals, it does have its limitations when it comes to crops grown in beds or ridges. And this is where the likes of the APV Vario VS come in. Each of the Vario’s VS tines is linked to a coil spring, which maintains the same tip pressure regardless of whether it’s working the top or bottom of a ridge. Introduced at Agritechnica 2019, we had a VS600 M1 on test all of last season. It is part of a line-up that goes from 1.5m wide all the way up to 12.0m.
Our test unit measured 6.23m in overall width when folded out, matching the range of crops produced on our test farm. These included cereals, maize, peas, potatoes, carrots and pumpkins in beds. Tine-to-tine width of the test machine was 6.15m, which was ideal, as it ensured a clean match-up with the 6.00m crop beds.
As mentioned, the tines are individually pretensioned by a pressure spring, and each of these springs lives in a plastic sleeve that stops them nipping the leaves of the crop below as the spring stretches and retracts.
Tension is adjusted hydraulically as standard by altering the distance between red upper frame and yellow lower tine frame, which are, in turn, connected by a parallelogram linkage.