Ma­chin­ery

Ad­vice on trac­tor-mounted ro­tary tillers, by Tom Read of Farm Tech Sup­plies

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Ro­tary tillers

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

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