Roller Crimper Benefits
Ninety to 100 percent knockdown
When done at the correct time in the cover crop’s life cycle, the roller/crimper is very effective in a single pass, even without additional herbicides or weeding. It’s an effective tool for an organic system.
Easily handles tough combinations like rye and vetch
Vetch’s vining growth habit is often challenging as it can get caught in machinery. The roller/crimper is a better tool for the job since it has fewer moving parts that result in less plugging. Plus the roller/crimper has enough weight to completely crush even thick strands of cover crops.
Creates an effective weed suppressive mulch
Instead of cutting up cover crops like some mowed systems, the rolled cover crops are left in place, which reduces plugging problems. It then creates a mulch mat that stays in place through the entire growing season. Cover crops left I place help erosion, hold moisture, and keep the soil cooler as well.
Soil disturbance is minimal
The goal of the roller/crimper is not to cut the stems, but lay them flat, creating a dense, thick mulch. Fewer weed seeds have the opportunity to germinate and compete with crop plants, and soil health is improved.
Front mount enables a one-pass system
The front mounted roller/crimper enables a one-pass system with a no-till planter rear mounted on the tractor. This reduces the number of field operations and saves fuel and time.
Currently, roller/crimpers range in price from $2,600 for an 8-foot roller to $4500 for a 15 foot roller. Compared with other “tillage” equipment, this is cost effective and value priced technology. With the assistance of CAD drawings, you can either make a roller/crimper yourself or have one made locally and save the cost of shipping.
Works well with soil types of all kinds
The roller/crimper has been tested on many soil types, and performs well on all of them. An exception is with extremely rocky soils. Large rocks can life the roller, preventing it from making contact with the cover crop and creating problems with cover crop termination. His is one circumstance where the system may not work as well as it could.
Works in dry or wet soil conditions
One of the advantages of a cover crop based no-till is that it works with dry or wet soil. It’s possible to roll and plant wet fields without creating problems with soil compaction and smearing since the tractor is really traveling across a carpet of cover crops. These rolled mulches spread the weight of the tractor over a larger surface area and prevent contact with the soil. With dry conditions, you can increase he weight of the roller/crimper and the planter to compensate for the harder soil.