Choosing the right cultivator for your farm

What should farmers look for when planning to purchase a new cultivator?

There’s been plenty of cultivator innovation in recent years that farmers need to consider, says agronomist Pat Lynch, who hosted the annual tillage demonstration at Canada’s Outdoor Farm Show in Woodstock, Ontario. This year manufacturers showed off secondary cultivation units set to finish fields for springtime planting. The demonstration was designed to showcase different cultivator options and setups, and provide farmers with a side-by-side comparison.

In this video interview, Lynch shares his views of successful tillage and what farmers need to consider when evaluating new cultivators. He says the key to successful spring tillage is going shallow. “We’re only going to be planting two or two-and-a-half inches deep so there is no point going to four inches early in the springtime.”


When fields are cultivated, “we want to be as level as possible and we want to have some trash on top, but not enough trash to interfere with planting.”

Lynch also compares typical cultivator features that farmers need to consider: S-tine versus C-shank; duckfoot versus sweeps or spikes; and how to evaluate harrows.

When assessing newer cultivators, Lynch recommends farmers pay strong attention to features that allow operators to level the implement back-to-front and side-to-side. With new self-levelling poles, operators have “more control over evenness of depth and the front and the back of the cultivator will be going at the same uniform depth,” says Lynch. He adds that adjustments on the wings allowing cultivators to follow the contours of hills are a huge improvement.

Lynch also reminds farmers to take inventory of their soils and cropping system when making a purchase.

“Cultivation is an art, not a science. It’s very personal, very specific to a grower and their soil,” he says. “Farmers have to look at their whole system: what crop is coming out; what’s the soil type; and what type of planting equipment are they putting in there and will it handle the trash.”


Bernard Tobin

Bernard Tobin is Real Agriculture's Ontario Field Editor. AgBern was raised on a dairy farm near St. John's, Newfoundland. For the past two decades, he has specialized in agricultural communications. A Ryerson University journalism grad, he kicked off his career with a seven-year stint as Managing Editor and Field Editor for Farm and Country magazine. He has received six Canadian Farm Writers' Federation awards for journalism excellence. He's also worked for two of Canada's leading agricultural communications firms, providing public relations, branding and strategic marketing. Bern also works for Guelph-based Synthesis Agri-Food Network and talks the Real Dirt on Farming.


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