Lemken’s Juwel 7 range of reversible ploughs was introduced to the market earlier this year aimed at growers who require a high level of technical features but on a smaller plough. James Rickard puts one to the test.
Designed to offer the lightweight and handy characteristics of the Opal 7 range, but packed with high-tech features of the larger Juwel 8, we put Lemken’s latest Juwel 7 plough to the test.
Like the Juwel 8, the lighter-weight Juwel 7 offers a high level of specification, with features not available on the Opal 7 such as DuraMaxx long life parts fitted as standard (see panel), electric turn control where by the plough angle can be set from the seat, and the firm’s latest HydroMatic auto-reset system which allows trip adjustment from in-cab.
The Juwel 7 is available with three to five furrows with a choice of 900mm or 1,000mm body spacing. Our test model was the five furrow version (four plus one) with hydraulically adjustable variable working width from 1,500mm to 2,750mm, solid DuraMaxx plough bodies and shearbolt protection – pretty much everything you can spec on the plough apart from the auto-reset system.
Compared to the Opal 7, the geometry around the front-end of the plough is different putting it tighter to the tractor so it does not have to lift as high when turning. The new framework also means the adjustable furrow width does not have to close down every time the plough turns over, rather the whole plough moves into a central position before turning. This eliminates that throwing action you can get making it much safer and balanced, particularly good when working on slopes.
Using buttons to select direction of oil flow, one double-acting spool valve can be used to control and adjust turnover, plough angle and front furrow width. The controls consist of two buttons; one blue and one yellow. For example, to alter front furrow width press the yellow button and engage the hydraulic spool until the desired width is achieved. Once this is done, press and hold the yellow button again to save the setting. If the position is not saved, the plough will return to its last known setting. The same procedure applies for the plough angle. And for turnover, no buttons are required.
Being able to set-up just about every feature from the cab seat means the plough is ready in about four bouts. A couple of excursions out of the cab will not go a miss though when it comes to the finer details of the set-up. The plough can also be run level for the first bout, with plough angle set on the second bout when the tractor wheels are in the furrow.
Unlike setting up a plough manually, whenever one of the hydraulically adjustable elements is changed, the plough automatically adjusts everything else to compensate.
Variable width control is a great tool to make your ploughing look good – a few tweaks here and there soon results in a straight furrow.
It is also good at adapting to changing conations, i.e. when the going gets tough the furrow width can be made narrower, conversely the plough can soon be opened up when the conditions get easier. This way you are always maximising the potential of the tractor and plough. It can also adapt easily to different tractors.
Variable width, to a certain extent, also allows you to steer around obstacles.
A gauge on both sides of the plough lets you see the furrow width, which is displayed in centimetres. This is only a guide though, and a tape measure is required for accurate set-up.
Both depth and the angle of the skimmers can be simply adjusted via pins and shims. While they are fixed in place adequately to do their job, you can hear the ones out of work rattling slightly.
The depth wheel is also pin-adjustable and hydraulically dampened to take out shocks and jolts when turning over. Hydraulic depth adjustment is an option.
Once set-up, the plough pulls very true and efficiently and was well suited to our 160hp, four-cylinder tractor.
A floating top link hole (elongated) allows good contour following of the field, which was well and truly tested in our undulating conditions.
Working in light, clay loam at 5kph with a furrow width of 450mm, the plough produced a decent finish. Quality did not deteriorate too much when this was increased to 8kph and 550mm furrow width, with trash still being buried.
Under beam clearance allowed good trash flow on our wholecrop stubble test site, although we did find its limits with some straggly grass near the boarders which wrapped around the skimmers causing blockages – this was an extreme case though.
Build quality is generally excellent throughout, but the stand could do with beefing up – it is fine when it is being dropped off or picked up by a tractor, but if you need to move it with a loader, the stand takes a lot of punishment as it hits the deck first, often at a less than ideal angle.
Despite the initial impression it is a complicated plough, it is extremely easy to set-up and use.
Being a small plough with big plough features means it is suited to smaller tractors but with all the technology to make life easier.
Its versatile nature means it can quickly and easily adapt to changing working conditions and be used on different tractors.
General build quality is good with pipes and wires routed neatly around the headstock.
Overall, the Juwel 7 is an impressive plough and provides a high-spec alternative to the equivalent-sized Opal 7.
The DuraMaxx concept enables plough bodies to last up to 78 per cent longer compared to Opal bodies, says Lemken, and set-up and installation time reduced by 80 per cent.
By not drilling and punching the bodies with holes, the bodies can be made from much harder steel. The mould boards are then supported by a separate structure which they are fastened to without tools. This means the boards are no longer a load-bearing part which allows them to be worn much thinner.