Tackling the soil
Soil preparation is the first step before growing a crop. The ultimate objective is to produce a firm and weed-free seedbed for rapid germination. The amount of tilling depends not only on the crop (including the seed size), but also on the soil type, topography, and the field conditions. The goal is a fine seedbed in the top inch or so of soil, with as few clods as possible. Proper seed-to-soil contact is key.
Tilling creates optimal soil by:
Mechanically destroying weeds that compete for water, nutrients and sunlight.
Incorporating organic material: residues left over from the previous crops are incorporated in the soil and decomposed.
Loosening the soil allowing the roots to penetrate deep into the soil and to breathe easily. It also supports the growth of earthworms and microbes.
A tractor mounted rotary tiller, or rotovator, pulverises the soil and breaks up clumps into a finer texture making light work of what would otherwise be a backbreaking job.
All Siromer rotovators are heavy duty, semi offset to cover one tractor wheel and with a dig depth of 6ins which can be adjusted on the rotovator skids. Siromer have recently launched a hydraulically offset rotovator operated from the tractor seat using the hydraulics. Siromer rotovators are available in a variety of sizes to suit your tractor’s HP, from 1.05m (£1,200 + VAT) which can be driven by compact 16hp tractors up to 2.30m (£ 2,800 + VAT) requiring upwards of 50hp to drive them.
If you are starting with sod, you may need to plough up the sod before you rotovate it. Ploughing gets deeper into the ground to allow the crop roots to reach water and nutrients.
If the land has already been ploughed, you may consider a power harrow to turn, break, refine and give an even distribution of soil to create a perfect seed bed. It breaks up even the most compacted ground soil, often in single pass for preparing an area for plantation. Power harrows consist of a multiple set of blades which counter-rotate about a vertical axis, which leaves the soil with a softer look and granulated yet levelled appearance, as required for sowing seeds or seedlings. Siromer offer two sizes, 1.3m requiring 24-50hp at £1,600 + VAT and 1.7m requiring 40-75hp £1,850 + VAT.
If you do not need to go deep into the ground but are wanting to cultivate directly onto sod, stone buriers are ideal. These cultivate to a depth of 6ins, bury stones and level to prepare the perfect bed. Siromer offer a 1.05m stone burier for £1,350 + VAT to suit 16hp and go up to 1.65m for £1,750 + VAT to suit 40-50hp tractors.
MORE: Call 01253 799029 or see www. siromer.co.uk
Power harrowing on ploughed soil
The rotovator blades
Rotovating on sod