This invention relates to a tine point for mounting on a tine of
an agricultural soil-working implement, and which is intended to work the soil
and make it ready for subsequent seeding.
There are many different types of soil-working implements which are
used in agriculture, including ploughs, harrows (including power harrows), cultivators
and packers, such implements being used singly for some operations, and in other
circumstances being used in multi-working operations in a single pass when incorporated
as integrated combinations. Examples of integrated combinations include reversible
plough / packer combinations e.g. as disclosed in WO95/02315.
It is of course well known to mount soil-working tines on agricultural
implements, and which usually are used to further work partly worked soil e.g.
after ploughing. It is also known to mount tines on direct drilling implements.
The tines project downwardly of their mountings on the frame of the implement
and into the soil, and by being pulled forwardly through the ground exert a working
action on the soil which breaks-down the soil e.g. into smaller soil clods and
lumps, as part of the preparations to make the soil ready for seeding. Subsequent
working of the soil may be necessary by use of packers, either as separate operations,
or by incorporating packers into integrated harrow / packer combinations.
Tines are usually made of spring steel, and the inherent resilience
of a tine allows it to be pulled through the ground to carry out a working operation,
and if particularly resistant ground conditions are encountered e.g. hard-baked
clay, buried stones, or large clods, the tine is able to deflect under load so
as to minimise risk of damage. The ability of the tine to yield temporarily also
stores-up additional spring energy in the tine which also assists in the working
operation in difficult conditions.
The inherent resilience of a tine is achieved partly by rigid securement
of the upper end of the tine, and which projects downwardly from its mounting in
cantilever manner, and which allows resilient deformation of the downwardly projecting
portion of the tine and the tine end in any direction. If additional resilience
is required i.e. to permit further resilient yielding of the tine end (and also
further temporary storage of spring energy), the upper end of the tine may include
spring coils, or other energy storage devices.
One particularly challenging set of soil-working conditions for a
tine applies when working the harder and tougher soils having a large proportion
of clay present. During dry conditions, the presence of clay in the soil results
in the formation of large lumps during working e.g. following ploughing, and which
are hard to break-down during subsequent working by tines. By contrast, during
moist or wet conditions, following ploughing, the soil hardly breaks-down at all
into separate lumps.
The traditional way of working "difficult" soil conditions i.e. having
a large proportion of clay present, has been to carry out initial working of the
soil by ploughing in the autumn, and then to let the winter weather act on the
ploughed ground to carry out initial breaking-down of the ploughed soil. Thus,
the action of rain and frost over the winter period can cause a partial breaking-down
of the ploughed ground, and subsequent working of the ground in the spring with
a harrow can then make the soil ready for seeding. Often, it is necessary for
up to six separate harrowing operations to make the soil ready for seeding, and
evidently substantial labour, fuel and equipment costs are involved in this traditional
method. It is also weather dependent, in that not only must there be suitable weather
prevailing for autumn ploughing, but also for the subsequent harrowing in the spring.
It is also common practice, prior to harrowing, to use heavy rollers,
with massive cylinders or packer rings, to try to crush or break-down some of the
lumps of soil. Power harrows also may be used, although this requires a higher
consumption of power and time.
However, despite the difficulties of working with these hard soils,
there are clear economic advantages (when satisfactory working of the difficult
soil is achieved) as compared with working with easier or "lighter" soils e.g.
sandy soils, since the presence of clay in a fully worked seedbed gives a more
fertile soil. This is obtained because, with the presence of clay in the soil,
this often serves to retain humidity better in the summer than lighter soils.
There is therefore a clear need to provide:
- 1. an agricultural implement of great strength and having very effective soil-working
tines (and tine point tips) to work these difficult soils; and
- 2. in a way which can reduce the overall time (labour) cost in making the soil
ready for seeding.
The present invention therefore has been developed with a view to
providing an improved design of tine point for mounting on a tine of a soil-working
agricultural implement, and which is effective in working in difficult or hard
soil conditions, and which can reduce the overall time required to make such soil
ready for seeding.
A tine point according to the invention may be mounted on any suitable
soil-working implement, (and preferably incorporated in one or more sets or rows
of tines), and in which the implement may be a harrow or soil cultivator, or a
soil-working component of an integrated combination. By way of example only, reference
may be had to the description of soil-working implements disclosed in WO95/02315
and EPA 96306433.2, and in which a tine point according to the invention can be
provided with particular advantage.
A tine point according to the preamble of claim 1 is known from AU
571 859 B.
It is known from GB2176083 to provide a blade for a sowing and / or
fertilising device, and which is connected via a spring to a sowing and / or fertilising
device, and comprises a foremost elongate member and a trailing blade body positioned
behind the blade member. The foremost blade member has a rectangular cross-section,
and the trailing blade body has a width at its front edge no greater than the width
of the foremost blade member. The blade member is connected at its upper end to
a connecting piece which, in turn, is connected to a lower trailing end of the
spring which mounts the blade on the sowing or fertilising device. The trailing
blade body is V-shaped, as seen in plan, in a non-deformed state, but in use will
deform inwardly as the side faces of the blade body press against the walls of
the groove formed in the soil by the foremost blade member.
According to the invention there is provided a tine point as defined
in claim 1.
Preferably, the connection between the second wind formation and the
cutting blade is resiliently deformable.
The tine point can be a unitary plate construction.
Preferably, the second wing formation has a trough-like mounting recess
formed therein, the recess being adapted to receive the lower end of the tine shank.
The tine point can have a single fastener which secures the shank
end non-rotatably in the recess.
The mounting portion of the tine can include a coiled spring formation.
Preferably, the first wing formation extends laterally outwardly of
said trailing edge of the blade in one direction, and the second wing formation
extends laterally outwardly of the trailing edge in an opposite direction.
In a further preferred arrangement, the lower edge of the second wing
formation is located at or close to the same level as the upper edge of the first
In a preferred arrangement, an agricultural machine for carrying out
soil working operations incorporates at least one row of tines having tine points
as defined above.
The agricultural machine can include one or more rows of seed and
/ or fertiliser distributing coulters which is / are mounted on the apparatus rearwardly
of the at least one row of tines.
A preferred embodiment of tine point according to the invention will
now be described in detail, by way of example only, with reference to the accompanying
drawings, in which:
- Figure 1 is a schematic side view of a trailed seedbed cultivator, having at
least two different types of soil-working tool mounted thereon, and comprising
one example only of a soil-working cultivator in which a tine and tine point according
to the invention may be mounted in one or more sets or rows of tines;
- Figure 2 is a diagrammatic plan view of the cultivator shown in Figure 1;
- Figure 3 is a perspective illustration of the tine;
- Figure 4 is an exploded view of the component parts of the tine shown in Figure
- Figures 5a to 5d comprise, respectively, view from one side, end view, view
from opposite side, and plan view of a tine point according to the invention and
comprised by a ground-working plated end of the tine;
- Figure 6 is a perspective illustration of a modification of the plated end of
the tine; and
- Figure 7 is a view of a further modification.
Referring first to Figures 1 and 2 of the drawings, this shows one
example of soil cultivating apparatus which may be provided with one or more sets
or rows of soil-working tines provided with tine points according to the invention.
The apparatus is trailed integrated or combination type of soil cultivating apparatus,
which is designated generally by reference 20 and which is intended to be coupled
to the rear of a tractor or other propelling vehicle 21, and to carry out a number
of different soil-working operations during forward movement of the apparatus 20
by the vehicle 21.
The apparatus 20 comprises a main frame 1, and which usually will
have a length of about 3 metres, in order to mount the number of rows of soil-working
tools which are required to be mounted on the frame 1, and spaced apart from each
other along its length i.e. spaced apart from each other with respect to the direction
of forward travel of the apparatus. A coupling arrangement is provided at the forward
end of the frame 1, to couple the apparatus to the rear of the vehicle 21, and
in the illustrated arrangement is shown schematically by drawbar 2.
As can be seen in Figures 1 and 2, a number of separate rows of harrow
tines are mounted on the frame, and comprising a forward row of "levelling" tines
8, front and rear sets of intermediate tines 26 and 27, and a rearward pair of
rows of tines 28 and 29. The tines 28 and 29 are incorporated into coulters for
the purposes of seed distribution at required planting depths, and the rear set
of intermediate tines 27 are incorporated into fertiliser distributing coulters.
Track looseners 7 are mounted in front of the tines of the foremost row 8, as
In addition to the rows of tines, the frame of the apparatus also
has mounted thereon a packer 9 comprising a set of axially spaced packer discs
or rings, mounted behind the foremost row of tines 8, and there is also a further
packer 11, composed of sets of spaced packer discs, and which is arranged between
the rows 27 and 28.
Figure 2 is a diagrammatic plan view of the soil-working tools of
the apparatus, and Figure 1 is a schematic side view. It can be seen in particular
from the side view of Figure 1 that the tines in each of the rows 8, 26, 27 and
28 are of the same design, and are of circular cross section, and similar to "finger
tines" used on a harrow.
The foremost row 8 of tines comprise hydraulically adjustable "levelling
tines", whose depth can be adjusted, and which are capable of carrying out a preliminary
soil-working action, and which replaces the action normally provided by a known
forwardly mounted "levelling board".
Having described one example of a soil cultivating apparatus, with
reference to Figures 1 and 2, there will now be described a preferred embodiment
of tine point according to the invention, with reference to Figures 3 to 5. One
or more sets of the design of tine shown in Figures 3 to 5 may be incorporated
in the apparatus 20, or other soil-working implement.
The tine is designated generally by reference 100, and will be rigidly
mounted in cantilever manner at its upper end 120, and the main shank 101 of the
tine projects downwardly therefrom, and mounts a tine end or "point" 102 which
comprises a cutting plate which can be drawn through the ground so as to exert
a cutting and working operation on the soil, during forward movement of the apparatus.
The upper mounting end 120 of the tine 100 includes a multi-turn
coil 103, which gives additional resilience to the tine, and also serves to store
temporarily spring energy, when the tine shank 101 deforms under load. The tine
end 102 comprises a new design of tine point, formed from a plate which is formed
and hardened, and then fastened securely to the lower end of the tine shank 101,
as can be seen particularly in the exploded view of Figure 4. A mounting groove
104 is formed in the tine point 102, in which the lower end of tine shank 101
can be securely mounted, when secured thereto by a single fastener 105 in such
a way that the tine end 102 cannot rotate relative to the end of the tine shank
101. This is a simple but effective means of rigidly coupling together the tine
point 102 to the tine shank 101. This is achieved by fastening of the fastener
105, in combination with the tight fitting engagement of the lower end of the tine
shank 101 within the groove 104, between the V-shaped walls thereof which embrace
the tine shank ends.
The tine end 102 is formed from a single plate 106, which is shaped
to take-up the form shown particularly in Figures 4 and 5. The plate 106 has a
cutting blade 107, which has a V-shaped leading edge 108, as shown in Figure 5c,
and which is able to cut through the soil like a knife, whereas the trailing edge
109 includes first and second laterally projecting wing formations 110, 112. The
first laterally extending wing formation 110 extends from the bottom edge 113 of
the plate 106 to a point located approximately mid-way between the top and bottom
edges 111, 113 The wing formation 110 also curves out of the plane of the cutting
blade 107 in a first direction. The radius of curvature of the wing formation
110 decreases from the bottom to the top edge of the plate 106. This first laterally
projecting wing formation 110 has the function of opening-up the slit formed in
the soil by the leading edge 108.
The second laterally extending wing formation 112 extends from the
top edge of the plate 106 to the top edge of the first wing formation 110. There
is a small gap between the second and first wing formations. The second laterally
extending wing formation 112 curves out of the plane of the cutting blade 107
in a second direction opposite to the direction of curvature of the first wing
formation 110. Therefore, the first and second wing formations 110, 112 are located
on opposite sides of the plane of the cutting blade 107. The radius of curvature
of the connection between the plate 106 and the second wing formation 112 is substantially
constant along its length.
In use, the tine 100 is arranged with the first wing formation 110
positioned in the soil and the second wing formation 112 positioned above it. As
a tine 100 is pulled through the soil the leading edge 108 cuts a slit in the
ground. The soil on one side of the slit is then pushed laterally by the first
wing formation 110 so widening the slit. As the soil it pushed laterally it applies
a force to the first wing formation 110 so slightly rotating the cutting blade
107 about the axis of the shank 101. As the cutting blade 107 rotates a restoring
force is generated by the deformation of the connection between the second wing
formation 112 and the plate 106. The cutting blade 107 therefore comes into equilibrium
at an angle slightly oblique to the direction of motion of the tine 100 through
When the tine 100 passes through a particularly resilient patch of
soil then the force in the first wing formation 110 will suddenly increase. This
causes the blade 107 to rotationally vibrate about the axis of the shank 101. The
leading edge 108 of the cutting blade 107 is located remote from the shank 101
and therefore the rotational vibration of the cutting blade 107 causes lateral
vibration of the leading edge 108. This lateral vibration of the leading edge 108
breaks-up the side walls of the slit, widening this slit and facilitating ploughing
through this particularly difficult patch.
The tine 100, with the tine end plate formation 106 has been used
in trials, as a set of tines, in a mounted reversible plough with an integrated
packer design, as shown in Figure 3 of the specification of WO95/02315, in which
the set of tines replace the levelling board 109. It has performed satisfactorily
in most circumstances, but if the soil is extra difficult to work, it is preferable
to have an additional set of tines, with the new tine point design, located behind
the packer rings disclosed in the specification.
An alternative use of the new design of tines could be:
- 1. in the front of any harrow, and particularly in the new design of seed harrow
as disclosed in EPA 96306433.2 and GB 9614991.9, the disclosure of which is incorporated
herein by this reference;
- 2. in the front of a cultivator.
The new tine point design may be used in connection with a packer,
and in which case the tines carry out preparatory work on the soil, whereas the
following packer rings are then able to carry out further soil-working, and with
Under some conditions, the improved result can be so satisfactory
that it is possible to carry out seeding immediately on the worked soil, but in
tougher conditions, it may be preferable to leave the soil until the spring. In
tougher conditions, the leading edge (108) of the new tine point design cuts the
slot, and which is widened at the top by the trailing wing formation 110. In winter,
the grooves so formed, which are widened near the ground surface, become filled
with water, which subsequently freezes, and this expansion of the water when forming
ice breaks the soil into smaller clods.
In this situation, it may then be possible, in the spring, to carry
out seeding directly, without any further working of the soil, employing the new
design of seed harrow as disclosed in EPA 96306433.2 and GB 9614991.9. This contrasts
with traditional practice, referred to in the introduction, in which up to six
passes sometimes have to be made with a harrow, in the spring time, before satisfactory
conditions for seeding can be obtained.
The provision of the new design of tine point, with the plate-like
fabrication described above, is mounted advantageously on the lower tip of the
shank of the tine, so that when the tine point encounters obstacles in the ground,
the natural resilience in the tine design allows the tine point to move backwards
and / or sideways, so as to pass by the obstacle. The amount of movement of the
tine point will depend on the resistance of the soil, and the relative stiffness
of the tines employed.
An additional advantage of the new design of tine points is that
they can cut through straw, weeds, and roots of e.g. couch grass. They can also
cut through grass roots when ploughing in a meadow, when the tines follow a plough,
either in a subsequent operation when mounted on a cultivator, or when incorporated
in an integrated combination of a plough and cultivator. The result is that it
is much easier to break-up the furrow slice formed by the plough.
Another advantage of the new design of cultivator tine point is that
it contributes to the fight against the damaging attack by snails. Snails tend
to hide and live in crevices which are created between furrow slices formed by
a plough. When conventional harrowing follows ploughing, and before seeding, or
when normal direct seeding methods are employed, then only a few of these crevices
(hiding the snails) are destroyed. When the crops start to sprout, and when the
climate is right, the snails can feed on the sprouting crop, and can destroy a
field in a matter of a few days. This is a particular problem, and especially in
warmer climates, but even in southern scandinavia e.g. southern Sweden, this is
an increasing problem.
To fight this damaging attack by snails, it is current practice to
use a lot of pesticides, but this is becoming increasingly unacceptable on ecological
However, when the new design of tine points are employed in
potentially infested areas, in combination with packer rings, the tines can be
controlled to operate at a regulated depth. They can then cut through the furrow
slices formed by the plough, and also through the crevices between adjacent slices,
and the action of the tine point, with its trailing wing formation, forms a slice
which becomes widened. When a packer follows, the worked-on ploughed slices and
the crevices can then be filled, and particularly the widened groove formation
formed by the wing formations becomes filled with soil. It is then very difficult
for the snails to come out and attack the growing crop.
Therefore, the new design of tine point makes it possible
to work even difficult soils with better results, and with a significant reduction
in time and cost.
It will be noted from Figure 5b that the laterally extending wing
formation 110, provided on the trailing edge 109 of the plate 106, is located intermediate
the upper and lower ends 111 and 113 respectively of the plate 106, and in fact
is located about mid-region, and immediately below the lower edge of the trough-like
mounting portion 104 for the lower end of tine shank 101.
It should also be noted that, in addition to being effective in "heavy"
or difficult soil conditions, the new design of tine is also advantageous when
working in some lighter types of soil. The shape of the plated end of the tine,
and particularly the arrangement of the wing, is such that it causes some of the
soil to be moved forwardly, as well as laterally, with respect to the tine. This
contributes to a significant extent in improving the levelling action of the implement,
and in particular in filling in crevices, as well as breaking down the soil.
Figures 6 and 7 show modifications made to the design of the plated
end, which can be advantageous in some circumstances. Thus, the shape and angle
of the wing can be made different, for different types of soil. The most advantageous
shaping of the plate, and the wing, will be determined by experience, with different
types of soil conditions.
In addition, as shown in Figure 6, the angle α, which is the
rearward inclination of part of the leading edge 108, may be varied to suit different
soil circumstances, again with the most effective angle being determined by experience.
Furthermore, as shown in Figure 7, the mounting of the tine on the
frame member of the implement (not shown in detail) may be arranged to be adjustable,
or alternatively the frame member itself may be adjustable. This also allows variation
in the way in which the plated end of the tine is presented to the ground, and
different adjustments can be made, by experimentation, to determine the most suitable
way in which the plated end of the tine is presented to the ground.