Pottinger Terradisc 5001 T review

Most cultivation equipment now combines discs, tines and rollers in one, and are designed to incorporate crop residue into the soil while working at speed. One such machine is the Pottinger Terradisc 5001 T.

For me to catch a Terradisc 5001 T – a five-metre wide compact disc harrow for surface cultivation –in action and to speak with an owner of one of these machines, I headed to ‘Dan Carter’ country, Southbridge, in the heart of Canterbury. I was here to meet the Winchester family who run a mixed arable and livestock operation that has until recently followed a somewhat traditional approach to cultivation – ploughing the soils and then working them down with a cultivator.

Since its arrival they have worked several hundred acres of ground and are delighted with the results. Two or three passes with the Terradisc is all that’s required to create a firm, fine and level seed bed. On the day I was there they were cultivating a run-out clover paddock and had the discs cutting in around 90mm in depth, although I’m told the machine can go as deep as 130mm.

After a couple of passes we had a fairly good looking seed bed. Hooked on the front providing the muscle was the Winchester’s Case Puma 140 which managed a respectable forward speed of around 12km/hr – much to my surprise. As a result the five-metre machine was able to cover a serious amount of ground in a day and covered the ground much quicker than ploughing and cultivating.


At the business end of the machine is the 580mm diameter scalloped discs which give plenty of bite into the ground. With 40 of them arranged in two rows over the five-metre width of the machine, there is an ample 250mm of spacing between discs on each row to prevent blockages. Disc spacing of the two rows combined sits at 125mm, which helps loosen and mix the soil. The discs are set at aggressive opposing angles which Pottinger says, after extensive field testing, is the optimum angle and it certainly seems to do a very good job.

Heavy-duty twin race bearings which hold each disc on a short stub axle are protected behind the angle of the disc and use a labyrinth seal and metal cover to prevent damage. The stub axle is in turn mounted to a slim profile cast iron carrier arm which also allows plenty of clearance for soil to prevent blocking. Carrier arms are then mounted in pairs to the main frame with a wide clamp that will prevent sideways movement of the discs. Four rubber elements are also cleverly squeezed into each clamp that will take the shock away from the frame allowing the disc to ride up if any large obstacles are struck.

As with most machines, the effort put into the correct setup pays off in the quality of the finish. Setting the machine level when working is critical and made very easy with a simple steel inclinometer built into the frame that can be seen for the cab and shows when the machine is level. Sweeping adjustable edging boards on the outside of the discs ensures soil is kept inside the working width to prevent ridging. On the left and right the outermost discs are also independently depth adjustable so when set correctly prevent furrows or ridges from pass to pass. Although not a problem on the flat Canterbury Plains the fact the machine is rigid over the entire width may cause issue in undulating ground.



Tucked in behind the discs is a row of large straight spring tines, which when set just deep enough to push a small amount of soil along in front of them, will further break up clods and level-out any hollows without blocking up the machine. These tines do a good job, although once again, setup is key. Adjustments can be made via pins with a series of holes for different heights and angles.


Cleverly designed, the roller on the back of the machine mounts in its own separate frame which pivots off the main frame; four hydraulic rams are then used to lift the roller up and down which controls the working depth of the discs. On each ram there are twelve 5mm thick shims on a hinge system alongside the ram spears providing a simple yet very effective way of fine tuning the depth and makes it very easy to set all four rams the same. The fact that they are on a hinge means they are always connected to the machine and there is little chance of them getting lost.

As for the actual roller on the back, Pottinger offers a choice of five different roller combinations for the Terradisc which include a crumbler, packer ring and rubber roller so there is something to suit all conditions. The machine in question was fitted with the most common packer ring roller. This uses deep steel packer rings which do an excellent job further breaking up soil leaving a firm corrugated seed bed promoting water absorption.


Pottinger has put a lot of thought into the frame and how it folds to transport the machine to make it as simple and straight forward as possible for the operator. At the front, a simple robust two-point linkage which includes a cross pivot is used to hitch to the tractor and allows the front to be raised and lowered on the linkage. The large 500/50 17 floatation tyres at the back provide a smooth stable ride, they mount to the main box section frame on a heavy-duty double-hinged arm that when working brings the weight of the wheels forward over the roller onto the discs also keeping the length of the machine compact.

For transportation, the arms unfold the wheels out over the roller placing them on the ground to lift the machine clear of the ground and a sequencing valve in the hydraulic system ensures the large rams are operated in the correct order. Once lifted clear of the ground on the transport wheels, the two sections of the Terradisc are folded vertically in with large rams that keep the transport width under three metres.

A spring loaded locking pin keeps the machine from unfolding unintentionally it is cleverly unlocked via a hydraulic ram and another sequencing valve when the machine is unfolded, this ensures the machine always gets locked and the operator never needs to leave the cab.


The verdict

The Terradisc lives up to the standard you would expect from a Pottinger machine. The frame, hitch and transport wheels are suitably heavy-duty to withstand whatever punishment they are given and very well finished to give the machine a tidy appearance.

The overall weight and large diameter of the scalloped discs will ensure decent ground penetration in all conditions; their aggressive angle and the following spring tines ensure residue is incorporated with the soil. The large diameter packer roller on the back rounds off a good machine and leaves a firm, level seedbed.

It is great to see simple, clever ideas such as the hinged shims for setting the working depth, an inclinometer to ensure the machine is level and an automatic locking mechanism to make life as easy as possible for the operator. As mentioned the Winchester’s are really pleased with the machine and the service they receive from Cochrane’s Machinery who they bought it from.


  • High output machine with high forward speeds for relatively low power requirements.
  • Simple robust construction that incorporates many clever ideas.
  • Sealed maintenance free bearings well protected from damage.
  • Hydraulically controlled working depth on the rear roller that is easy to set.
  • Unique transport position insures the weight is transfer to the discs when working.
  • Anti-drop valves and mechanical locks included for safety.
  • Well thought-out hydraulic system that uses sequencing valve to insure overall ease of operation.


  • Two sections are locked solid over the entire working width, this may cause issues in undulating country.
  • Other manufacturers offer similar machine with an adjustable cut on the discs which may prove valuable for multiple passes.

Read the full review in the latest issue (#223) of Farm Trader magazine. Subscribe here.

Previous ArticleNext Article
Send this to a friend