DRIVING IMPRESSION: Strip-till drills have proved an ideal transition for many farmers wanting to make the move to no-till but not yet ready to abandon all cultivations. So, could the Czajkowski be an option for those wanting to travel the strip-till path?

The UK is very familiar with strip-till drills, with domestic makes such as Claydon and Mzuri now on the market for well over a decade. Which begs the question: why has the Czajkowski range of 3.0m to 6.0m drills failed to make a big splash?

In production since 2017, the Polish strip-till is the creation of farmer Maciej Czajkowski, who decided to make his own after looking for a machine for his own farm. To learn a little more about the strip-till drill, we caught up with the latest 4.5m version, the ST450.

Loosen in strips
The machine machine is divided into three key zones — loosening, reconsolidation and sowing. And there is no shortage of space, as the ST450 measures a long 11.20m with its band sowing coulter bar in place. For extra versatility, the PS rear coulter bar can be removed from its
three-point linkage mounting and replaced with a precision planter.

But let’s kick off at the front of the machine. The ST is coupled to the tractor with a Cat III crossbar, the system driving two fans. The fans are supplied by a pto-powered pump, which is mounted directly on the stub and works with the oil tank on the drawbar.

For loosening, the ST450 has a dozen straight legs tines on 37.5cm centres. These are fitted with chisel points (tungsten carbide is a cost option), which lift the soil but don’t mix it. Each of the loosening legs is protected by its own hydraulic cylinder, and the pressure is shown on a gauge at the front of the machine. When you reach the headland, the legs are raised out of work hydraulically with the rest of the rig onto the tyre press.

Leg depth is adjusted by refitting shim clips on the rams: with all of these clips fitted, we were operating at the machine’s minimum depth of 25cm. By contrast, the maximum leg depth is 35cm, but for this you usually swap the 60mm points for 45mm versions. There is also an 80mm point available.

To ensure material does not wrap around the legs and block, there’s a couple of 350mm diameter row-cleaning discs set to an angle of around 15°. Right behind the cleaners is a much larger, vertical corrugated disc with steel shoulders, that helps to clear the path — even in lush cover crops.

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