Tilling soil is a very important step in preparing soil so that it is suitable for crops. Without tilling, our plants would not find hospitable soil in which to grow and from which to draw nourishment and strength.
One of the most important steps in working the soil is tilling. Let’s take a look at what it involves, how and when to till soil and what alternatives we have, depending on the soils we have available.
Soil tilling involves breaking up and mixing the surface layers of the soil using special machinery equipped with rotating discs and rippers. The maximum depth reached by tilling is 20 centimetres, whereas the area to be tilled can be wide or narrow, depending on the dimensions of our soil or the part we want to cultivate.
Tilling therefore reduces the amount and size of clods, which become increasingly compact over time and make it difficult for roots to penetrate.
In addition, by tilling the soil, certain types of weeds are eliminated, previous crop residues are mixed into the soil, thereby turning them into organic fertiliser, and the soil is thoroughly mixed.
Tilling should not be done when the soil is wet, as it is too heavy for machines to break up clods, and in certain circumstances a rotary tiller or cultivator might get stuck in the soil. You should also avoid tilling soil that is too hard, as it is impossible when soil is dry and arid.
So, what are the favourable conditions for tilling soil? When soil is moist (not wet). When soil is moist, clods break up more easily. The best time for tilling is in spring, but it can also be done in autumn or winter.
Nowadays, there are various machines available for tilling soil, which adapt to soil conditions, thereby facilitating one type of operation over another.
In general, machines used to till soil are tillers and rotary hoes.
For large areas of land, tractors should be considered, to which a tiller should be attached using a 3-point hitch that is fitted to all tractors.
Before purchasing one, a careful assessment needs to be made of the soil, since there is a risk of damaging the rotary hoe the first time it is used without guaranteeing that the soil can be used for agricultural purposes. We recommend a 120 horsepower rotary hoe: optimum power for curved rotary hoes. Below such power, rotary hoes are more suitable for small gardening jobs rather than working on large, abandoned plots of land.