Crop production and post-harvest technologies are essential aspects of agricultural engineering. Many farmers in large-scale agriculture prefer to use new technology instead of adhering to old principles. Both tillers and cultivators are well-known agricultural machines. Although tillage and cultivation are popular agricultural practices, the terms tiller and cultivator are relatively new in the field. This is because most of these practices are manual in nature for traditional farmers. These basic agricultural machines were introduced with technological advancements and the industrial revolution.
Tillage is a land preparation technique practiced in agriculture. Soil with hardpan is more compacted than normal soil, which can result in weak plant growth due to low root penetrability. To address this issue, the hardpan must be removed or disturbed before cultivating plants in the field. A tiller can break down large soil particles into smaller ones.
Tillage is typically a two-step process. Primary tillage uses primary tillers with large teeth, while secondary tillers have smaller teeth and are used for further soil softening. Crops with soft roots that need to penetrate deep into the soil require both primary and secondary tillers for proper land preparation. Traditionally, tillers were dragged by animals, but now they are usually attached to vehicles, such as tractors, for easier field navigation.
A cultivator is another type of agricultural machinery widely used in large-scale agriculture, primarily for secondary tillage operations. Its sharp teeth can pierce the soil, creating finer particles. There are two types of plant establishments in a field: broadcasting and transplanting. Broadcasting is a traditional method where seeds are randomly sown in the field, while transplanting involves uprooting plants from nurseries and re-establishing them.
For transplanting, farmers need an effective and beneficial way to re-establish plants. Fine soil ensures that broadcasting materials do not clump together. Cultivators are often dragged by tractors over the field. Thanks to the proper arrangement of teeth, cultivators can be used for specific purposes, such as weed control after planting and soil mixing, without damaging crops but destroying surrounding weeds.
- Both tillers and cultivators are used in agricultural land preparation, with tillers being a common name for machinery used for tillage and cultivators used only in secondary tillage.
- There are various types of tillers and cultivators based on motion, such as linear dragging and rotary types.
- Primary tillers are used to disturb hard soil, while cultivators break down soil particles finer, enhancing soil aeration.