One of Agritechnica’s two coveted gold medals was awarded to Kemper this year, for their Stalkbuster, which breaks up corn stubble, destroying overwintering habitat for corn borer.
“In Canada and the U.S. you don’t have a lot of corn borer problems because you have Bt corn,” says Georg Wigger of Kemper, in the following TechTour interview from Agritechnica. “But, in Germany and in Europe, Bt corn is not allowed, or the public doesn’t want it, so we have really big problems with corn borer.”
Made by Kemper, a subsidiary of John Deere, the Stalkbuster is attached to the rear base of a forage harvester header, allowing mulching to occur before any wheels can flatten (and thereby ‘protect’) the stubble. The fast-turning blades are mounted at an angle to chop each stalk into multiple short lengths. This saves a second operation, which, according to the company, gives an economic advantage in Europe of around €84/ha (CDN ~$51/ac) compared to shredding afterwards.
Power requirements for the Stalkbuster are around 4 horsepower per row, meaning a typical eight-row head would need roughly 30-35 HP.
Kemper plans to test units in some customer’s fields in 2018, and hopes to expand to limited sales in 2019 and full availability in 2020.