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Differences Between Disc Harrow and Disc Plough

disc plough vs disc harrow

Having the correct farming equipment is essential for a fruitful harvest. If the soil isn’t properly prepared to the right depth, the crop may not turn out as expected.

In order to assist farmers in opting the suitable farm equipment Kelly Tillage is offering guidance in this blog by explaining the difference between a disc plough and a disc harrow. Understanding these distinctions will help farmers choose the best equipment for their specific tasks.

The soil can be deeply worked using a plough, and afterward, a harrow can be used to refine and level the surface for lighter soil preparation. 

The plough and harrow, two crucial farming implements, facilitate the cultivation of the soil for planting crops. They both exhibit variations in their design, function, and the specific tasks they fulfil.

However, considering the fact that continuous primary tilling is detrimental to the soil for several reasons as mentioned below. 

  • Deep tillage can disturb the way the soil is naturally arranged and how organic matter is spread out. Over time, different layers and horizons form in the soil, which help beneficial microorganisms to thrive and nutrients to cycle effectively. However, deep tillage can break up or completely ruin these layers, disrupting the important activities happening in the soil.

  • Primary tillage can make the topsoil more likely to erode because it exposes deeper layers to wind and water. This erosion leads to the loss of important nutrients and organic matter, which reduces the land’s productivity in the long run.

  • It can disturb the homes of earthworms, helpful bugs, and tiny living things that are important for keeping the soil healthy. These creatures help with air circulation, recycling nutrients, and controlling pests. When they are disturbed, it upsets the delicate balance of the soil and harms its health and ability to grow plants.

  • Deep tillage takes a lot of time, effort, and money compared to shallow tillage. The tools needed for deep tillage, like disc ploughs, are expensive. Furthermore, you might have to go over the soil several times, especially if it’s packed down, which uses up more time and fuel.

Hence, it is advisable for farmers to adopt light tillage practices. For this reason, Kelly Tillage has developed exceptional Diamond Harrows for you. 

Disc Ploughs vs. Harrows

1) Penetration and Strength 

A notable difference between a disc plough and a harrow can be found in the penetration and strength of the farm implement.

  1. Disc Plough 

A disc plough is a strong farming tool used to break up and flip over the soil. It has big rotating disc blades that cut through the soil and turn it upside down. The plough’s weight and the force from the spinning discs help it to go deep into the soil. 

  1. Harrow 

Harrows are not very heavy and their main job is not to dig deep into the ground. Instead, they’re better suited for tasks that happen close to the soil surface, for instance preparing the seedbed.

It even helps in making the soil even, breaking up big clumps, and getting rid of small weeds or leftover plants. Farmers often use harrows after ploughing. 

2) Types Of Soil 

  1. Disc Plough 

Ploughs are often used in heavier soils like clay, where deep digging is required for breaking up compacted layers. However, ploughing sandy soils can result in soil erosion and the depletion of organic matter.

  1. Disc Harrow 

Harrowing works well on different types of soil like loam, clay, and sandy soil. It’s especially helpful for lighter soils that don’t need deep digging, as that could cause erosion.

3) Components

  1. Disc Plough 

The following are the parts of disc plough: 

  • Hitch Bolt 

The hitch bolt is a vital component that facilitates the connection between the plough and the towing vehicle or implement.

  • Lift Crank

It helps the farmer change how deep the plough’s blade goes into the ground. He can turn the lift crank to make the blade go higher or lower.

This is important because different kinds of soil need the blade to go different depths into the ground.

  • Rear Furrow Wheel 

Its primary function is to maintain the desired depth and stability as it moves across the soil. The wheel helps prevent excessive penetration into the soil and safeguards against tipping over. 

It also assists in controlling the width of the furrow created by the plough.

  • Disc Scraper 

It helps to clean the discs of a plough by removing dirt, rocks, and other things that get stuck on them. It usually is made of tough stuff like steel or aluminium and is attached to the plough so it can move easily.

  • Disc Hub 

In simple terms, a disc hub in a plough is like a connection point between the disc blades and the plough. It helps the blades to spin and work properly while tilling or cultivating the soil.

   2. Harrow 

The disc harrow is made up of different parts that work together. These parts include:

  • Frame 

It’s like a sturdy skeleton that keeps the disc harrow in place and helps it work properly.

  • Disc

A circular concave cutting blade made of steel is a curved, round blade that is used for tilling the soil. Kelly Tillage offers distinct disc types that have proven to be a big help for farmers.

  1. Spiked Disc 

The Spiked Disc Chain proves highly efficient in weed removal, rendering it an excellent tool for pre or post-seeding cleanup tasks. 

Its shallow working depth and combing action contribute to its lightweight nature, allowing for swift coverage of larger areas in hectares. As a result, it facilitates faster and more extensive operations.

  1. Prickle Chain 

The Kelly Prickle Chain is great for levelling soil and using pre-emergent herbicides. It weighs only 25 kg/m, requiring less power and allowing for faster work. 

  1. Plain Edge Disc 

CL1 Disc Chains which is a plain edge disc. It offers the optimal solution for effective stubble management, operating consistently and at a shallow depth to control weeds and level the soil. 

In doing so, they safeguard valuable moisture and promote soil health, enabling farmers to create an ideal seedbed with utmost precision and perfection.

  • Arbour bolt

A  powerful steel shaft of considerable length serves as the foundation for mounting multiple discs.

  • Bearings 

Rotation of the gang and regulation of thrust is dependent on bearings. 

  • Scraper 

The scraper effectively clears away soil from the discs, ensuring the concave side remains free from blockages. This effectively prevents the discs from becoming clogged.

  • Spool 

The spool is a component that is mounted on an arbour bolt between each pair of discs. Its purpose is to maintain the fixed position of the discs and prevent any lateral movement.

  • Bumper

To keep the discs safe from hitting each other, there is a strong iron plate placed at the end of each gang. It acts like a weight and prevents the discs from bumping into the ones next to them.

Final Words 

The choice between using a disc plough or a harrow comes down to what the farmer specifically needs and prefers. 

Some farmers may opt for disc plough because it can penetrate the soil aggressively, while others may prioritise harrows for their ability to smooth the surface and handle various tasks. 

When deciding between the two, it’s crucial to consider factors such as the condition of the soil, the farmer’s goals for managing crop residue, the availability of equipment, and the overall farming methods involved. 

By considering these aspects, farmers can make a well-informed decision that aligns with their specific requirements.