The most detailed explanation of false and stale seedbeds available anywhere can be downloaded for free from the Future Farming Centre website
Of all the physical weed management techniques, PhysicalWeeding considers the false seedbed to be the most effective. This is because when properly implemented it can dramatically reduce the populations of in-crop weeds yet is inexpensive, easy to undertake and has high work-rates making it very cost effective. This is how the exceptional weed management shown on the right and our homepage has been primarily achieved. However, until now, there has not been any machinery designed to optimally till (cultivate) false seedbeds, so PhysicalWeeding has created two machines for fast and efficient false seedbed tillage, the ‘Rod & Roller’ and ‘High-Precision’ false seedbed tillers.
The critical design criteria of a false seedbed tiller is precise control of tillage depth coupled with sufficiently aggressive tillage action to ensure a complete weed kill. This is achieved by using smooth rollers for the combined job of depth control ‘wheel’ and soil 'conditioner' in combination with either (1) an undercutter bar, (2) rod-weeder or (3) interrow hoes (High-Precision) to kill weeds - see below for photos.
The undercutter bar design is the simplest and cheapest. It is based on a single roller with light-weight undercutter bars mounted fore and aft. While very effective the downside is that the bar tends to clog with plant residues, so it is best suited to smaller / market garden operations with short beds.
The High-Precision false seedbed tiller uses the mid-mounting principle (see the full explanation in the Four Wheel Hoe page) using twin rollers to give the best depth control possible allowing its A and T hoes to consistently slice through the top two centimetres / inch of soil. The High-Precision tiller is suited to larger operations as it will cope with residues and stones much better than an undercutter bar. It can also be built as a three bed machine to cover very large areas.
The Rod & Roller false seedbed tiller has one roller in combination with a driven rod-weeder (in place of an undercutter bar) to power through the top five centimetres / two inches of soil. It is more compact than the High Precision tiller, but due to the powered rod can effectively deal with significant amounts of stones and residue. The design is suited to both vegetable production and arable and pasture establishment.
A key side benefit of all the false seedbed tillers is that smooth rollers create an ‘natural’ (un-forced) fine and firm soil tilth in the top few centimetres / couple of inches of soil, that is ideal for sowing / drilling into.
For more information and to discuss your individual requirements please contact Merf.