Tillage in Farming
Since the dawn of time, when ancient civilisations carved furrows into the soil to plant wheat, barley and peas, tillage has been an important tool for farmers.
Since then, farmers have been looking for better ways to till their soil. Better ways to increase productivity while conserving their most precious resource – their soil.
What is tillage in farming?
Before we look at what tilling is, it’s important to understand why farmers employ tillage in the first place.
Farmers mainly utilise tillage to improve the productivity of crops. They till the soil to prepare and cultivate it for planting crops. They till to reduce weeds so there’s less competition for crops. And they till to return crop residue to the soil to improve it for future crops. Tillage plays a crucial role in seed germination, root development, and overall crop growth.
Essentially, tillage is turning over the soil using various mechanical operations. In practice, however, it’s a whole lot more complex.
While tillage practices have many benefits – such as improving soil structure, aiding moisture retention and increasing nutrient availability, excessive or improper tillage can lead to issues. In particular, soil erosion can occur if farmers till the soil too deep. Which is why it’s important for farmers to have total control on the depth of their tillage in every soil and in every season
Tillage practices in farming
There are two main types of tillage practices in farming, each serving specific purposes:
- Primary tillage or deep tillage works the soil deeper, breaking up compacted soil and incorporating organic matter. Generally, farmers in Australia don’t employ deep tilling because of the issues it can cause.
- Secondary or surface tillage involves working the soil closer to the surface, while leaving the subsoil undisturbed. This reduces the issues of erosion on farms and is the tillage that most Australian farmers employ to improve the soil, create a smooth seedbed and control weeds.
These days, many farmers also employ a conservation approach to tillage on their farms. They do this by using reduce-till methods in paddocks where seeds are being planted and no-till to reduce disturbance in soil where seeds aren’t being planted.
With a strategic approach to tillage and farming in general, today’s farmers are helping to reduce erosion and other issues associated with improper tillage methods.
Control depth in every soil and season
While tilling to the optimum depth is the aim of most farmers, achieving this isn’t always easy. While there are a variety of equipment farmers can use to tillage – including ploughs, harrows, disc chains, tillers, and cultivators – each can be suited to a specific soil type and purpose.
Which is why Bute Discs invented their patented adjustable disc chain system. It offers incredible versatility, without having to invest in several pieces of expensive equipment, each of which needs to be maintained.
Our discs come in two gap sizes and the choice of cutting discs and standard discs, to suit different soils. The really smart feature is that weights can be added or taken off each disc. This means farmers can adapt their disc chain to suit their soil on any particular day, in any particular season.
It’s like having four disc chain systems in one!
For farms and topsoils that have become increasingly hard, Bute Discs’ disc chain has the perfect amount of aggression. Aggressive enough to cultivate the hardest soils without touching the subsoil.
It’s why our disc system has built a reputation for being hard on weeds, but kind to the soil.
Prepare your seedbed and control weeds with fewer passes. Contact Bute Discs for help in determining the best disc set-up for you and your farm.