Dustin Hawkins runs a fleet of the most modern and up-to-date machinery in the world. His farm is located in Kincaid, Saskatchewan, Canada. Dustin is from a farming background, but he began farming on his own just 14 years ago. Land in Canada is leased and sold by the quarter (a quarter is 160 acres). Thus, the minimum field size is 160 acres and usually much bigger. Similar to Ireland, leasing costs per acre vary on land quality. In this particular area of Canada, tillage land starts off at $40/ac and makes up to $100/ac.


In early April, if ground conditions permit, Dustin goes through all of the land to get any wet patches ready for sowing. Dustin runs either a John Deere 9570R or a 9570RX, which pulls a 40ft Degelman Pro-Till. Both of these John Deere tractors are powered by a Cummins QSX15 engine, which boasts a massive 570hp output. However, a point to note is that although these tractors have a maximum output of 570hp, the PTO output is limited to a maximum of 335hp.

The Pro-Till is brand new and this 40ft machine came with a price tag of $151,000. It comprises two sets of discs followed by a ring roller.

The job of the Pro-Till is to shred up heavy fall residue, open and aerate fields, level ruts, destroy clods and produce a perfect seed bed.

Due to the shallow soil depth in this area of Canada, min till is essential. Dustin has set the Pro-Till to work the land to a depth of two and a half to three inches below the surface.

All wet areas of land, anywhere that the water ran when the ground thawed (especially down sloping areas), any alkaline patches, areas where cattle dung was spread, and ruts/tramlines from the sprayer are pro-tilled in the hope of breaking up and aerating these patches to restore the area of land to maximum productivity.

The 40ft Pro-Till has an extremely heavy build and requires all of the John Deere’s 570hp to pull it at a speed of 12.6mph. This piece of well-engineered machinery comes standard on the BKT FL-630 with high flotation radial tyres. It has the capability of covering over 70 acres per hour. Its self-contour frame allows the machine to follow the curvature of varying terrains while maintaining a consistent working depth.

Each disc runs on its own independent rubber suspension, which allows it to skip over any solid objects such as stones. Although Degelman may be an unfamiliar brand across Europe, it is one of the best-established brands of strong, durable machinery across Canada and the US.

Cultivator work

Deep water runs are cultivated using both 35ft and a 40ft John Deere cultivators, which work at a depth of one foot into the ground.

These machines are capable of filling in deeper and wider water runs in comparison to the Pro-Till simply due to the depth they work at. The 35ft cultivator is pulled by a 375hp Versatile tractor, which runs on eight 710/70/R36 tyres and the 40ft cultivator by a John Deere 9570RX which is on tracks.

This particular 375hp Versatile tractor is powered by a Cummins 10.8l six-cylinder diesel engine.

Versatile, which again is often unheard of across Europe, is a Canadian tractor brand which also manufactures a range of agricultural equipment. Versatile was founded in 1966 and it is the only Canadian manufacturer of agricultural tractors.

Heavy harrow

This year, Dustin purchased a new Brandt 8200 heavy harrow. Again, this machine is pulled by a John Deere 9570RX. The heavy harrow has a working width of 82ft, a transport width of 13ft 2in and a length of 60ft 2in. The machine is broken up into seven 10ft sections and two 6ft sections.

These sections are built rugged and designed to deliver consistent down pressure over non-uniform terrain. It weighs 19,870lb (9,013kg).

The objective of this machine is to pull it on fields of heavy stubble and straw residue.

The specifically designed heavy-duty tines built from chrome, or optionally from wear-resistant carbide, will rip up and pull the stubble to clear the field.

These tines are placed at intervals of 2.4in, so very little residue slips by them. This process will help to aerate the soil and dry out the layer of soil closest to the surface. The Brandt 8200 heavy harrow is usually operated at around 10mph.

Mounted on to this machine is a Valmar 3255 granular applicator, which does not come as standard. The Valmar granular applicator can apply herbicide and seed.

Dustin uses it to evenly distribute herbicide through an air fan and outlets which are positioned at 24in intervals. However, in an exceptionally wet spring, this machine may be useful to apply seed to wetter fields if the heavy air drill is unable to travel. The heavy harrow is operated off John Deere’s Greenstar and Autotrac guidance systems for maximum productivity.

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