AN ultra-low disturbance subsoiler was launched at LAMMAthis week by Opico.

The move comes in response to widely acknowledged on reducing mixing of soil 'horizons' to improve soil health, it said. Reduced surface disturbance is also an essential in fighting grassweeds.

Where this subsoiler fits in, is in min-till or no-till regimes, where there is a growing demand for effective, low disturbance work to loosen and fracture the medium depth subsoil to relieve compaction, with the added benefits of assisting drainage, aeration, nitrogen uptake and encouraging crop rooting.

Opico's James Woolway said he had taken this thinking and customer feedback on board, working with Scandinavian manufacturer, HE-VA, to design a totally new ultra-low disturbance subsoiler specifically for the UK.

The result is the HE-VA Stealth – a medium depth, ultra-low disturbance subsoiler, with scalloped straight, front cutting 450mm discs to cut through trash, vegetation and top soil, reduce soil 'burst' and in turn encourage grassweed germination.

Legs are staggered in two rows to allow residue flow through the machine and reduce the required tractor lift capacity whilst maintaining a lower hp requirement. Leg spacing is standard at 500mm, but can be altered to 450mm, or 550mm, adding versatility for differing soil types and conditions.

The hardened cast steel points are tungsten tipped and 120mm wide creating the necessary lift and shatter whilst ensuring longevity. Similarly, the 15mm ‘Hardox 500’ legs are thinner, but stronger and more durable than standard subsoiler legs. A V-profile roller re-consolidates and helps to retain moisture in the surface.

Using the Stealth alleviates surface compaction down to a maximum working depth of 300mm (12-inches) and HE-VA’s standard hydraulic depth control is fully adjustable from the tractor seat.

The Stealth has been designed to satisfy the requirements of no-till and reduced input farming systems. However, it is also suitable for use in all farming systems where repair to damaged soil structure is required e.g. on headlands, tramlines or other trafficked areas.

The Stealth is available as a 3m, 3.5m, 4m and 5m mounted, or 5m, 6m and 7m trailed machines. Machines over 3.5m fold hydraulically. A kit of legs and points is available to retro fit to existing HE-VA machines like the HE-VA Subsoiler range and for all HE-VA Combi-Discs.

Prices start at £12,974 for a 3m, five-leg rigid Stealth subsoiler with shearbolt protection or add a little more than £3500 to get auto reset protection. A 5m mounted 10-leg hydraulic folding Stealth with shearbolt protection (plus optional LED lights) was at the show, with a RRP of £28,767.