Advice on tractor-mounted rotary tillers, by Tom Read of Farm Tech Supplies
Atractor mounted rotary tiller is a useful piece of equipment for cultivating the soil ready for seeding or planting. Whether you have arable fields, a large vegetable garden or an allotment to prepare, a rotary tiller makes short work of what is a backbreaking job with a hand fork or rake!
It works by digging into your soil and churning it into a fine, clod-free seedbed. Your tractor’s PTO powers the tillers curved tines / blades attached to a rotary shaft, and the depth can be adjusted using skid shoes. Generally speaking, the larger the rotary tiller the more depth can be achieved. If you’re looking to buy a rotary tiller, make sure you buy one that is at least the width of the outside measurement of your tractor tyres, otherwise you could end up missing strips of soil and having to go over them again.
When to use a rotary tiller
Generally the rotary tiller gets put to use in the spring when you’re preparing the soil for late spring and summer crops. However, although traditionalists may say that tilling is a job for the spring, you can make this task much easier if you get the rotary tiller out in September or October.
Although we may be experiencing a wet summer, it is easier to use a rotary tiller in the autumn when the ground is not too wet and boggy. In the spring, this job can be tough as you wait for the ground to dry out enough or get bogged down in the sticky mire.
If you plan to introduce organic matter to add nutrients to your soil, deep tilling it before the winter will give it amble opportunity to break down and nourish the soil. This will mean that your soil is in great condition the following spring and will only need a single tilling or harrow – or even get the hand fork out – to be ready for planting or seeding.
For allotmenteers and smallholders who wish to grow winter crops or a green manure, it can also be helpful to till the soil having harvested the last of this year’s summer crops. This will break down any clods or impacted ground, introduce oxygen into the soil and improve drainage – ensuring those onions, broad beans, and peas get the best start in life.
If you decide that you need more than a rotary tiller, a stone burier is the next step up. This will rotovate and also bury any stones to improve drainage and also give a smoother sowing surface. It will also make short work of left over vegetable crops such as beets. MORE: www.farmtechsupplies.com
A tractor-mounted rotary tiller in action. Farm Tech offers a choice of rotovators and stone buriers