Tillage, in agriculture, refers to the process of manipulating the soil using mechanical tools to achieve a desired condition.
It involves preparing the ground before planting and cultivating it after planting to optimise crop growth. For the best preparation of the soil, tillage is performed using various types of tillage implements or equipment.
In farming, tillage performs several important functions.
- It involves employing a diverse range of farm tillage equipment to break up the soil, resulting in a loose and crumbly texture. This process significantly enhances soil structure, facilitating better root penetration and creating an ideal seedbed for planting.
- Moreover, tillage plays a vital role in weed management, as it helps control weed growth by disrupting their roots and burying weed seeds.
- Tillage aids in incorporating organic matter or fertilisers into the soil, providing essential nutrients for plant growth.
- It ensures precise seed placement, optimising germination, and establishment.
Together, these integrated actions establish favourable conditions that foster successful crop growth and development.
What Are Tillage Implements And How Are They Used?
Tillage equipments are categorised into various groups based on their intended purposes.
This classification system helps us understand and differentiate the specific functions of each implement. Practicing this makes it simpler to choose the right tool for a specific farming task.
Secondary Tillage Implements
The cultivator is a farm implement utilised for performing the fine operation of losing soil by breaking up clods and eliminating weeds, thereby promoting the growth of crops of superior quality.
The cultivator consists of a frame with two rows of tines attached in a staggered arrangement.
The inclusion of two rows and staggering the position of the tines allows for sufficient clearance, enabling clods and plant residues to pass through without obstruction.
The frame of the cultivator is designed with drilled holes to allow for adjustable spacing between the tines as required.
The cultivator can feature a varying number of tines, typically ranging from 7 to 13.
Cultivators have varying tine numbers based on model and design, allowing farmers to choose configurations that suit their field requirements. When the tines become worn out, they can be easily replaced.
A plank is a simple tool comprising a strong wooden beam measuring approximately 2 metres in length. It is furnished with shafts and a handle affixed to the beams.
When put to use, its weight helps in effectively crushing the majority of soil clumps.
Moreover, the plank facilitates micro-leveling and gentle compaction, which are essential post-sowing activities.
Rollers are utilised to level the land or break down sizable soil clumps, particularly following ploughing or disc harrowing. Usually, tractors are employed to pull the rollers, ensuring efficient operation.
They can help reduce moisture loss from cultivated soil.
By compacting the soil surface, rolling helps to create a smoother and more tightly packed layer, which can reduce the rate of water evaporation from the soil.
It is a farm equipment that focuses on soil levelling and residue management. Shallow tillage in tasks like seedbed preparation or seed coverage is done using a harrow.
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Harrow can further be classified into further two types:
- Disc Harrow:
A disc harrow is a farm tool designed with a series of concave metal discs, arranged in a row, which can be positioned at an oblique angle.
Its purpose is to prepare the soil for crop planting by tilling it effectively. Additionally, the disc harrow is used to break down the residue of previous crops.
- Blade Harrow:
A blade harrow is farm tillage equipment consisting of a frame with long, flat metal blades attached to it. Its primary purpose is to perform light tilling.
The blades, whether straight or curved, are specifically designed to effectively cut through the surface of the soil, aiding in soil preparation.
Indigenous Blade Harrow
- These are the blade harrows that are crafted and utilised by local communities or farmers within particular regions, following traditional practices.
- These harrows are created using locally accessible materials and construction methods that have been handed down through successive generations.
Modern Blade Harrow
- Modern blade harrows are commonly used in commercial farming. They work well with tractors and other machines for large-scale tasks.
- These harrows provide accurate control, can be adjusted according to needs, and can cover large areas in a fast and efficient manner.
Primary Tillage Implements
One Way Plough
When it comes to breaking up tough and compacted soils, one-way ploughs shine. These ploughs not only improve soil drainage and aeration but also offer user-friendly operation, making them a preferred choice among farmers.
With the help of one-way ploughs, you can set the stage for optimal crop growth and success.
In this plough, the part that goes into the ground can be moved to either the left or right side of the plough. This is done by attaching it to a special hinge on the beam.
This feature is useful because it saves the farmer from having to turn the entire plough when working in hilly areas. However, it only allows the flipped soil to be moved to one side.
Farmer’s Caution Is The Key: Plough With Care!
- While one-way ploughs are useful for soil preparation, it’s important to be cautious about overturning the soil too deeply.
- When the soil is turned over excessively, it can harm the crops’ roots by exposing them to the air, leading to damage.
- Deeply disturbing the soil leads to the decomposition of organic matter, releasing carbon dioxide into the atmosphere.
- This CO2 is a greenhouse gas that contributes to the greenhouse effect, causing global warming by trapping heat in the Earth’s atmosphere.
A mouldboard plough is a tool used in farming to flip and dig the soil. It is the most commonly used type of plough today.
It has a curved blade called a mouldboard connected to a frame. As the plough moves through the ground, the mouldboard turns the soil over, preparing it for various farming tasks.
- It efficiently flips the soil, bringing the nutrient-rich lower layers to the surface. This action enhances soil aeration and improves the distribution of nutrients throughout the soil.
These ploughs are versatile and can be used in different types of soil, but they work best in loamy and clay soils.
However, they are not as effective in sandy soils because the sand tends to get blown away easily, reducing the plough’s efficiency.
Chisel ploughs are primary tillage implements that break up and loosen the soil, improving air, water, and nutrient movement.
They use sharp, pointed blades to break up clods and till soil to a depth of 6 to 12 inches. It is suitable for various crops like soybeans, and wheat.
Proper usage of chisel ploughs is crucial to avoid potential damage to soil structure. While they can be effective for soil tillage, it’s important to note that improper practices, such as operating at excessive depths or in wet soil conditions, can lead to compaction and disruption of soil aggregates.
These adverse effects can result in reduced water infiltration, heightened erosion risks, and compromised overall soil health.
Farmers and operators must exercise caution and adhere to appropriate guidelines when utilising chisel ploughs to ensure optimal soil structure and health.
A Subsoiler is a farm implement specifically designed to break up compacted soil at greater depths than mouldboard ploughs.
Mouldboard ploughs are typically used to turn over the top 6 to 12 inches of soil, while Subsoilers can be used to break up the soil to depths of 12 to 24 inches or more, effectively breaking up and loosening the soil.
It is an effective tool for addressing deeper compaction issues and improving soil structure.
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Secondary tillage implements play a vital role in complementing the primary tillage process by refining the seedbed and readying the soil for planting.
Implements such as harrows and cultivators are frequently used during secondary tillage operations.
Their purpose is to smoothen the soil surface, eliminate weeds, and promote better seed-to-soil contact. Each secondary equipment performs a unique function to establish the best possible growing conditions for crops.
By utilising these implements effectively and with care, farmers can foster soil health and create optimal conditions that promote successful crop growth.