Laser land levelling in agriculture uses laser‐equipped drag buckets to enable soil to be moved around the field and create the land’s desired slope or level.
The technology enables high levels of accuracy and has been shown to increase crop yields, reduce water consumption, and minimise erosion, among many other benefits.
Research from 2015 into laser land levelling found average yields of rice and wheat increased by 8 per cent in laser levelled fields, while it also reduced cultivation times, irrigation times and energy requirements.
Uniform irrigation consistency and enhanced water retention across the land are central to these benefits, with water not pooling in certain areas or running off as waste.
How does laser levelling work?
A tripod-mounted laser transmitter on the side of the field emits a laser beam and signal to a receiver mounted on a levelling bucket drawn by a tractor. A control panel then interprets the laser signal and adjusts the height of the levelling bucket based on the height of the land with excess soil from higher areas captured in the bucket and then released into lower areas of the land.
There are different types of laser levellers, from those requiring some manual intervention by the operator to full self-levelling lasers that automatically find and maintain a level.
Laser levelling uses drag buckets which are operated in a similar manner to a scraper bucket and, rather than being mounted to the front of a machine and pushed through material, are generally towed behind a tractor and attached using either a three-point hitch, or to the tractor’s drawbar.
Common wear areas in laser levelling buckets
The main wear area is the cutting edge at the front of the bucket that engages the material, however the buckets themselves can also get damaged, with custom wear plates being the best form of protection. Like in any earthmoving operation, a wear protection strategy should be developed and tailored to your operating conditions.
3 Steps to Laser Levelling:
1- Plough the Field:
The first step in the process of laser land levelling is to plough the fields from the centre out. While laser levelling can be done in a dry field, moist soil may help minimise the required tractor power, as well as clods.
2- Topographic Survey:
For a field to be level, soil must be moved from high points of the field to the low points. By conducting a topographic survey you can record the high and low spots in the field, where the mean height sits, and how to most effectively level the field.
3- Laser Level the Field:
Once you have determined the mean height of the field, set your laser-controlled bucket at that mean height, with the cutting edge set around 1-2mm above ground level.
Drive in a circular direction from the high areas of the field to the low areas. If your bucket becomes full, empty it into lower areas of the field.
Once you have the field close to level, complete a series of final passes from the high end of the field to the low end until the field is level, before conducting a final topographic survey for accuracy. The field should not need to be relevelled for around eight years.
Laser Land Levelling Cost-Benefits
The equipment cost, setup time and operator skill required in managing laser land levelling means it is generally best suited to larger fields and operations.
These additional setup costs and importance of accuracy also means it is critical to ensure you use high quality cutting edges and that all machinery and equipment such as laser levelling buckets are aided and protected using high quality wear protection.
Wear Parts for Laser Levelling Buckets
Cutting Edges Equipment Parts supplies a full range of agricultural machine parts and wear parts - including for laser levelling buckets - from cutting edges to bucket wear plates, as well as ripper shanks and boots that are commonly mounted to the rear of a laser bucket.
For those with complex requirements, we can also provide custom cutting edges to suit any configuration of machine, and add a tungsten long-life coating to cutting edges to extend their wear life and protect the heads of the mounting bolts.
Please get in touch and let us know how we can help.