A disc harrow is essentially a farming or agriculture tool and is basically for preparing the soil for planting crops. Another use is to pulverize useless weeds and any remaining crop to make way for new crop planting. The tool consists of discs made of iron or steel arranged in twos or fours. From an aerial view, these would look like an “X” shape. These discs have a slight concavity, meaning they have a slight curve, like the inner surface of a round ball. They are also offset slightly. Both these factors enable the disc harrow to loosen the soil. Also, enabling pick up as the discs cut through the soil.
Back in the day, pulling and dragging disc harrows are through horses. After all, they didn’t have the hydraulic technology that they do today. The olden day harrows were adjustable so that the sharp discs at their concave angle would not literally rip through the ground if the disc harrow needed to be moved or transported.
Disc harrows of today are usually in attachment to tractors and come with full hydraulic functionality. Hydraulic means that operating the machine is by some sort of a liquid, especially water, under pressure. Larger disc harrows for big commercialized farming applications have side sections that are totally raiseable. This allows for better transportation, especially road transportation, and also comes in handy for storage.
The main use of a disc harrow is that it is mainly for chopping, slicing, and hacking the soil after plowing. With the packed soil, harrowing is very effective in removing the clumps.
If you have had a recent harvest of let’s say a corn or wheat plantation, a disc harrow can be useful to hack up the old crop like corn and wheat stalks in turn making the land easier to plow.
Let’s compare the disc harrow with the cultivator to better understand what a disc harrow does. A harrow is mainly helpful in disturbing the entire surface of the soil – sort of like your strongest sandpaper. It does the initial rough job. A cultivator is another garden and farming tool to work carefully through the soil and helps eliminate weeds and leaves the crop plants alone.
So in a sense, it is comparable to a finer sandpaper to do the top layer finishing job.
In a disc harrow, the discs basically slice and turn and the main reason farmers use it is to break up large clumps of dirt that are the result of plowing. The disc harrow also smoothes out this dirt. In some cases, many farmers (like wheat farmers), plant their fields just with a disc harrow and don’t even bother to plough anymore. The disc slices and cuts away wheat roots after the harvest.
If you are a home gardener and are considering gardening tools for tilling you might do well with a rotary tiller for home use. A disc harrow is mostly for large scale farming. Ask your local garden store for the right tool for you.
For more farming tools, check out Homestead Tractor’s blog section today.