It is important to retain soil moisture, especially when ploughing in dry conditions during the autumn. Rolling as soon as possible after ploughing is one solution to this problem. The furrow press, a narrow version of a Cambridge roll with one or two sets of widely spaced rings, is an alternative method of consolidating freshly ploughed land.
A furrow press can be attached to a plough or a hydraulic linkage in front of the tractor. Rear presses are pulled from a special drawbar bolted to the plough. Working widths which vary from about 1-3 m are suitable for three- to seven-furrow ploughs, and the width of some models can be increased or decreased to a certain extent. Furrow presses can be used with an even larger plough by attaching two or three units at intervals along the frame. Trailed furrow presses either have a three-point linkage hitch for transport purposes or can be lifted above the plough with a hydraulic ram and carried in that position.
In operation, a rear-attached furrow press is automatically detached when the plough is lifted at the headland. The furrow press has a double pick-up arm which provides a method of connecting it to a reversible plough in both directions of travel. After turning on the headland, the plough is lowered into work and a towing hook on the plough engages with the furrow press pick-up arm. Care is needed when lowering the plough to ensure that the press is coupled successfully.
Furrow presses can also be used on a front linkage or suspended from a heavy duty arm which pivots on a frame attached to the front of the tractor (Fig. 30). Front-mounted furrow presses - some have an automatic steering mechanism - are often used in conjunction with rear-mounted power harrow and drill combinations.
The arm-mounted front press is moved from the left- or right-hand side of the tractor with a hydraulic ram and is held centrally in front of the tractor for transport purposes.
Plate 30. A hydraulic ram swings this front-mounted furrow press across to the other side of the tractor when it returns across the field.