Why Kelly Harrow? Reasons for Harrowing a Field


Why Kelly Harrow? Kelly tillage system plays a significant role in enhancing soil quality and promoting successful crop cultivation. Thus, this blog will cover the reasons for harrowing a field using a Kelly diamond/disc harrow and shed light on its significance.

Reasons for Harrowing a Field 

Harrowing a  field is an essential practice that involves breaking up and smoothing the surface of the soil using a disk harrow, which is a farming implement with sharp, tooth-like spikes or discs. 

This process serves several crucial purposes in modern farming and has been practised frequently for decades. Here are some simple explanations for why farmers harrow their fields:

Seedbed Preparation

Using this farm tool is a common practice carried out prior to sowing seeds to prepare a finely tilled and level seedbed. This provides an ideal environment for seed germination and ensures even seed distribution, leading to more uniform crop growth. 

Weed Control    

It is a valuable method for managing weed growth by uprooting or causing damage to young weeds that compete with crops for essential resources such as nutrients, water, and sunlight. 

Through shallow tillage, harrowing effectively interferes with the growth of weed seedlings. This disruption not only simplifies subsequent cultivation but also facilitates the more robust growth of crops.

Encouraging the growth of weeds might sound unusual, but promoting their early germination can be a highly effective method for weed control. 

Farmers achieve this by using a Kelly Model 2006 to prepare the seedbed, which stimulates buried weed seeds to sprout and become visible. 

Incorporates Organic Matter 

This process integrates organic materials such as crop residue and compost into the soil. When organic matter is thoroughly mixed into the soil through harrowing, it fosters a healthier and more fertile environment for plant growth. 

The decomposition of organic materials releases beneficial microorganisms into the soil, which help break down nutrients and make them more accessible to plants. 

This not only boosts crop productivity but also promotes sustainable farming practices, as it reduces the need for synthetic fertilisers and aids in soil erosion prevention. 

Increase Water Infiltration 

Using this farm implement can significantly improve water infiltration in crops by breaking up compacted soil and creating a more porous and receptive surface. 

When soil becomes compacted, it forms a hard layer that water struggles to penetrate, leading to runoff and reduced moisture absorption by crop roots.

Disc harrow which involves dragging a set of tines or disks across the soil, helps to loosen and aerate the topsoil. This process not only breaks up compaction but also creates small channels and spaces for water to infiltrate more easily. 

As a result, this technique enhances the soil’s ability to absorb and retain moisture, promoting healthier crop growth and more efficient water usage in agricultural practices.

Improves Soil Warmth 

Firstly, it reduces surface roughness by breaking up clods of soil and levelling the field. This smoother surface minimises air pockets and crevices, allowing the sun’s heat to penetrate more effectively into the soil.

Furthermore, this practice exposes a larger section of the soil to direct sunlight. When the diamond harrow’s discs disturb the upper soil layer, they reveal fresh, untouched soil that was previously covered. 

This newly exposed soil has a lower albedo, signifying that it reflects less sunlight and instead absorbs more of it. This leads to the gradual warming of the soil as it absorbs the sun’s energy.

Warmer soil temperatures are beneficial for crop growth because they encourage quicker germination, stronger root development, and more efficient nutrient absorption, all of which are essential for the health of crops. 

When the soil is warm, enzymes responsible for breaking down and facilitating nutrient uptake become more active, ensuring that plants have access to the vital elements they require for photosynthesis and overall growth. 

Additionally, elevated soil warmth increases microbial activity, enhancing the soil’s fertility and nutrient recycling capabilities.

Prevents Erosion 

By employing this method, farmers can achieve a smoother soil surface, effectively reducing the presence of large clods or irregularities that make the soil more susceptible to erosion. When the soil is smoothed and levelled, it creates a more uniform and stable surface, which helps prevent erosion caused by both wind and water. 

This controlled soil structure prevents rainwater from forming channels or carrying away topsoil, and it reduces the likelihood of wind lifting and carrying loose soil particles.

Pest Control 

When utilised for soil cultivation and minimum tillage, this farm implement can either bury or expose pest larvae, eggs, or pupae, hindering their ability to survive and mature into adult pests. 

Moreover, it has the added benefit of disrupting weed growth, thereby diminishing potential shelter and food sources for pests.


When soil becomes compacted, it becomes densely packed, making it difficult for plant roots to penetrate and access essential nutrients and moisture. 

Additionally, this soil type hinders the efficient infiltration of water, leading to surface runoff and potential erosion. 

Furthermore, the exchange of gases between the soil and the atmosphere, which is vital for the health of soil microorganisms and plant roots, is hampered in compacted soil.

By mechanically disturbing the soil, harrowing not only reduces compaction but also promotes better soil aeration. Improved aeration enables plant roots to grow more easily and access nutrients and moisture deeper within the soil profile.

It also enhances the soil’s ability to absorb and retain water, reducing the risk of runoff and erosion. Moreover, the increased exchange of gases benefits soil microbes, aiding in nutrient cycling and overall soil health. 

Find Your Perfect Kelly Disc Harrow

Here are some of the best tillage equipment options that farmers can confidently choose from:

Versatile Model 1204 combines the superior construction quality and fuel efficiency of our larger systems in a compact design that can be easily towed by a 100-hp tractor. What sets it apart is its ability to offer three distinct working width options.

Model 3009 is the best and most reliable tillage equipment. It is suitable for a wide range of applications. It features floating wing cylinders and increased ground clearance. This mid-sized model utilises a dual hydraulic fold system to achieve a narrow transport width of 2.4 metres.

The Model 4012 is designed for long-lasting performance, efficiency, and easy manoeuvring. Its front hitch is built to withstand high horsepower while enabling sharper turns, and the front wing cylinders are situated inboard for improved protection from damage.

Summing Up 

Harrowing with a Kelly Harrow is essential for enhancing soil conditions and maximising crop yields. It is a popular agricultural implement and offers several compelling reasons for harrowing a field. It helps break up clods, level the soil surface, incorporate organic matter, and create a seedbed conducive to optimal crop growth.