NFU Mutual Smallholding Insurance

Author Topic: Cultivator Performance  (Read 2482 times)

Norfolk Newby

  • Joined Aug 2009
  • West Norfolk, UK
Cultivator Performance
« on: November 19, 2010, 05:01:07 pm »
I have a small cultivator - 5 hp engine which drives 2 rotating flails producing about a 2ft width of dug soil.

I offer this assessment of its performance to anyone considering getting or using one.

My land is light sandy soil which drains very easily. It is best to use the cultivator on it when the soil is damp to wet.

Yesterday, it took me 4 hours of fairly hard work to dig over an area 10 metres by 30 metres. It used about 1 litre of petrol (a full tank) to do this.

The top layer of the soil was slightly compacted with a thin covering of weeds. The few grassy patches reduced progress to about half.

The soil was probably dug to a depth of about 4 inches. A second pass (best at right angles to the first) would increase that to 6 inches which is slightly less that you could achieve with a fork or spade. However, the extra depth means that the machine tends to dig itself into a hole making progress slower than you might expect.

Just to be clear this type of cultivator does not have powered wheels. Progress depends on its rotating tines trying to act as wheels and roll forward while they break up the soil in front of them. This type weighs about 60 kg making it transportable in the back of a small van or estate car while the type with powered wheels weighs around 90 kg. This is fine if you can store it local to the land on which you want to work but rather heavy to lift into a vehicle.

If you have to work with heavy clay soil, I think you would find the heavier type of cultivator with powered wheels better on compacted soil. However the lighter type (like mine) might still be suitable for turning over seed beds and vegetable plots which are dug regularly.

Novice - growing fruit, trees and weeds
Voss Electric Fence

Le Recoignot

  • Joined Oct 2009
Re: Cultivator Performance
« Reply #1 on: November 23, 2010, 07:27:16 pm »
Hi

Pretty fair assessment, what I would add however is that on clay soil this type they are good for breaking up clods which can be difficult and time consuming. This type of cultivator (a tiller) is also harder on the arms and therefore more difficult to control. the powered wheel type (rotovator). If you can afford the self propelled wheel type - go for it!

princesspiggy

  • Guest
Re: Cultivator Performance
« Reply #2 on: December 14, 2010, 12:40:51 pm »
i have a little petrol mantis tiller thats great, worth the money. saves alot of labour. but choose conditions so soil not too wet or dry to make it easier. can be quite physical tho, even tho theres old wifey in photo on advert!! she must have bin fit!!

Le Recoignot

  • Joined Oct 2009
Re: Cultivator Performance
« Reply #3 on: December 15, 2010, 05:03:52 pm »
Totally agree with the first reply!

Tillers are harder on the arms & harder to control. They do work well in the right conditions such as breaking up clay clods, but not I would say for turning over pasture. Self propelled with drive wheels are better for this + are easier to control and easier on the arms but cost more...

Unfortunately in life you get what you pay for!

Norfolk Newby

  • Joined Aug 2009
  • West Norfolk, UK
Re: Cultivator Performance
« Reply #4 on: December 16, 2010, 10:18:49 am »
I have to transport any equipment I want to use on my field as it is not near home and I can't safely store anything there (things disappear!).

The larger cultivators with powered wheels seem to weigh about 90kgs while the simpler ones like mine weighs about 55kg which is just about possible to lift and load in my car. 90kg would be too much to lift and would require a ramp or the addition of a trailer.

I am pleased I got the cultivator but it can be hard work to use for more than a couple of hours. Also, it is quite noisy so I would recommend some earplugs or the sort of ear defenders you get with a chainsaw helmet. These reduce the noise of most machinery to a pleasant hum. In fact I often listen to my MP3 player while working with this sort of machine, e.g strimmer. This would be impossible without the ear defenders.
Novice - growing fruit, trees and weeds

princesspiggy

  • Guest
Re: Cultivator Performance
« Reply #5 on: December 16, 2010, 02:54:19 pm »
what brand is it NN?

Norfolk Newby

  • Joined Aug 2009
  • West Norfolk, UK
Re: Cultivator Performance
« Reply #6 on: December 22, 2010, 11:12:30 am »
My cultivator is a SARP. I think it is a French brand but the machine is typical of the stuff made in China.

I have had a couple of small problems with it so I am not going the tell you it is perfect. The throttle cable jammed, then broke and the drive belt comes off fairly often.

I got it from Northern Tool when they had it on offer at around £300 so it was a bargain.

The engine is a Briggs & Stratton and works well. the rest of it is fairly basic engineering so any problems should be fixable.

The other thing to mention is that the fuel tank holds around 2 litres which is plenty for 3-4 hours of fairly hard work. Running the engine flat out doesn't seem to make the work go quicker so I run it around 70% full throttle which works fine.

Novice - growing fruit, trees and weeds

 

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