Test: Redback machinery

By: Jaiden Drought

Farm Trader givse you a brief overview of the wide selection of gear tested from Mech Agriculture on the Tokomaru dairy farm

As we sail through the shortest day of the year, winter is in full swing around the country. This time of the year means longer pasture rotations (due to slowed growth) and grazing on saved longer pasture, which in turns means plenty of dung in a concentrated area and slower regrowth that is significantly impacted by the dreaded P word – pugging!

Redback -machinery

I headed to the Manawatu to check out the Redback range of equipment designed to help alleviate some of the stress associated with wintering cattle, and some cultivation gear for when spring arrives to keep crop establishment costs low.

Anyone familiar with Manawatu heavy clays after a significantly wetter than normal autumn will sympathise with the quickly changing soil conditions.

Tine cultivator

3-m -cultivator

Spring tine cultivators are still extensively used in parts of the country due to the hard-wearing abrasive nature of soil conditions. They are especially effective in trash situations due to the deep tine stagger.

Having this in mind, there are still those who want to cover the ground quickly and already have a big enough tractor to pull a larger folding machine.

Redback offers two solutions, the first being the rigid cultivator available in 2.5m, 3.0m, 3.5m working widths and the larger 4.6 and 5.5m folding cultivators are available in either standard or heavy-duty.

Both offerings are constructed from heavy wall RHS with angle bracing for added strength for the four rows of mounted 12mm S-tines. A rear crumbler roller (available in standard or heavy-duty) has five depth settings, which along with the tractor top link, gives depth control.

The roller bearings are protected from the outside with flat steel facing and an easily accessible grease nipple on the inside.

The folding series have a twin-frame design that folds in the middle and offers greater contour-follow with hydraulic folding for transport.

Folding -series

While this does offer a narrow transport width, the ground clearance, once folded, is significantly limited.  When the folding ram is placed in float, this means
each individual section can follow the contour better.

The pivot along the wing provides even pressure, meaning the tines operate at a more consistent depth, saving horsepower and diesel.

Heavy-duty double ring chain harrows

Double -ring -harrows

I spoke earlier about the benefits of harrows in a pasture application. However, thanks to the rear drawbar on the tine cultivators, the heavy plain double ring chain harrows are ideal for cultivation applications.

Built tough with fully welded construction, this bad boy is equipped with 20mm chain at the front. The middle smasher bar does as its name suggests and the 16mm chain, spreader bar and drag weights round out the 2.7m daddy, which is ideal behind discs or as a heavy cover set like we were using behind the cultivator.

It did a good job behind the crumbler roller smashing up the finer clods and leaving a nice tidy finish, although we did put it behind the levelling bar later on and found it tended to bring the sod back up due to the damp soil.

To be fair, you probably would do a finishing pass after the leveller with a spring cultivator or power harrow to get the windrows of the cultivator out, which is probably where these are better suited and, as we found out, did a good job in this application.

Triangle and chain harrows

Chain -harrows

These are what put Redback on the map. The aggressive triangle spikes on the rugged triangles in the front half rip thatch smash up pugged areas and break it down, allowing the back half to spread and finish the job off nicely. More breaking down and levelling is achieved by the middle smasher bar. 

Redback offers them in two variants, both exactly the same in design but as the name suggests, the original and heavy-duty are just that.

The original is ideal for the smaller farmer who doesn’t do a large area per year and uses them mainly for spreading dung and patching the odd bit of pugging. The 16mm triangle spikes and 12mm chain with front levelling bar, middle smasher bar, and the rear spreader bar and weights round out the 2.7m machine.

The heavy-duty is available in the same 2.5m, 3m, 3.5m, and 4m working widths and does a great job in heavy pugging, pasture aerating/smashing up kikuyu or cultivation.

Key differences are the fully welded construction giving massive strength advantages and the use of heavier 20mm triangles and 16mm chain.

ATV grass harrows


With the explosion of townhouses, many are after a slice of the countryside to call home, which may be why ATV Harrows are Redback’s number one seller. Even if you have one acre or 50 acres, every hobby farmer needs an ATV or a small tractor and needs to find something to tow behind it.

Luckily, this ‘honey, I shrunk the chain harrows’ fits the bill nicely. The same design as the regular triangle and chain harrows, the 1.7m long beast has 16mm aggressive spikes in the front half, designed to smash muck and break it down, while the 12mm chain of the back half creates a smooth finish.

These do a good job and, all jokes aside, are ideal for horse studs and lifestylers for pasture and spreading dung before flipping them upside down and grading the limefine driveway to keep the neighbours green with envy.

Redback Plain Chain Seed Covering Harrows

Chain -harrows -no1

As the name suggests, there are no glossy prizes for guessing what these harrows do. It’s perfect for behind either the roller drill (while we checked them out) or behind the direct drill into pasture. There are two options, either 10mm chains for lighter work or 12mm for slightly more aggressive covering and longer life.

Harrow depth is available in 0.85m (10mm) or 1.1m (12mm) depth, three chain rows (10mm) or four chain rows (12mm). Available working widths are 2.5m, 2.7m, 3m, and 3.5m

3m 3 Bar Standard trailing land leveller


The trailing leveller is a great tool to scoot around cultivated paddocks knocking out humps and hollows or keeping the tracks in check.

The 125mm RHS and channel equipped with hydraulic rear wheels, replaceable cutting edge, filled in side plates, and rear parallelogram drawbar made a strong machine that was well finished.

I think the tow hitch and three-point drawbar let it down. To carry any real amount of dirt, you need the hitch, as mounting it to the standard drawbar and using the hydraulic rear wheels will only allow the last of three cross members to be used. This could carry plenty of dirt if you had a big enough tractor up front – and given the strength of the machine, it’s more than capable of doing so – but a big tractor would bend and buckle that hitch in no time. 

Redback Verdict


Personally, I am a big fan of harrowing. If it does nothing else, I like the fact it makes things presentable.

Spreading the dung and busting up pugging are definite benefits. There is some data to suggest it can damage the daughter tiller of the grass but this would be more to do with timing than a reflection on the harrows.

The different variations of each particular harrow is sure to cater to almost everyone’s needs, while the cultivation and levelling equipment have a new design edge on timeless classics.


  • The aggressive triangle spikes and covering chains do a nice job in a variety of conditions
  • A huge variety caters to a wide range of people requirements
  • The fully welded construction of the heavy-duty harrows is impressive
  • The spring tine cultivator harrows are well made and leave a tidy finish
  • The ATV harrows are popular with a variety of buyers due to their ability to rejuvenate pastures to levelling tracks and sand arenas
  • All the gear is well made with a tidy/well-presented finish


  • The 3-point linkage on the leveller is not heavy-duty enough for hard-core levelling jobs
  • When folded into the transport position, the spring tine cultivator has little ground clearance
  • Medium-sized stones are easily caught in the gaps of the crumbler roller

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