Rotary hoes are versatile tillage tools that can be used for accomplish a number of tasks in the farming process. For instance, a rotary hoe can effectively decrease soil crusting and enhance crop emergence, while at the same time preventing the germination and growth of weeds. A rotary tiller is particularly effective since it causes very little soil compaction. The potential for soil crusting is particularly high b fine textured soils following sever rain. Rotary hoes can help combat soil crusts which in turn prevents poor stand.
The Advantages of Rotary Hoeing
There are several advantages to using a rotary hoe on your farm, the following are just some of these benefits;
- A rotary hoe can be very effective in helping you control weeds that can emerge shortly after planting. Some weeds appear quickly after planting, especially if rainfall is sufficient. A rotary hoe helps stem their germination and growth.
- The rotary hoe will also cause very little disturbance of crop residue and this enhances infiltration and prevents erosion which is great for the planting cycle overall.
- Operating a rotary hoe is also not that expensive as fuel costs can be as little as 0.20 gallons of diesel per acre.
How to Use a Rotary Hoe Properly
To ensure that you get the best results rotary hoeing, begin by stirring the soil surface to get to the weeds that are just starting to grow. A rotary hoe may not be useful if the weeds are already visible from the roadside. Some scouting and digging in the soil surface layer will help you find the weeds at the root hair stage. The sun and wind are very instrumental for drying a killing the weed roots once exposed. For the best results and effective rotary hoeing, ensure that the soil is damp or moist.
It is also important to look at the crop before you begin the hoeing process. This will help you prevent any damage to the crops. There is a higher damage risk for soybeans than for corn and you want to make sure that you don’t knock off the cotyledons. When hoeing corn, stop at certain intervals to ensure your activities are not damaging the stand.
The following are just some of the things to remember when rotary hoeing;
- Maintain a tractor speed of about 8-10 mph range.
- Run with the rows
- Work on a shallow depth, enough to flip the weeds out of the soil.
- Use self-cleaning rotary hoes in fields with high level of surface residue cover to avoid dragging residue.
There are also several factors to consider when using rotary hoes for cultivation. They include the following:
- Rotary hoes bury little or no residue. They instead, gently flip soil and residue to the surface. It is however important to note that not all of them handle residue well, older models (20 years or more) usually don’t.
- Rotary hoes also have little or no impact on compaction although for better results, you may want to reduce the weight of the tractor, use the smallest tractor and remove fluid from tires.
- Although the soil needs to be damp, an intense downpour may lead to soil crusting. These soli crusts can cause significant germination failure. Seedlings that are trapped under a crust grow only until they run out of stored energy.
- You may also significantly reduce the amount of herbicide and chemical application when you choose to use rotary hoes for cultivation.