Power harrowing: advantages, disadvantages and best practices

May 14, 2024

Suitable for different types of soil and crop, the power harrow is a valuable tool for the optimal preparation of the soil. For these reasons, power harrowing refers to the crumbling of the soil following a breaking-up process, usually within a depth of 10-15 cm. Often used as a secondary tillage to ploughing, the power harrow is extremely versatile, representing an essential step before sowing or transplanting. Let’s take a look at its advantages, disadvantages and best practices.

Power harrowing advantages

The power harrow allows you to work the soil superficially and obtain a more uniform and homogeneous surface, ready to host the seeds. So what are the advantages of its use? First of all, it breaks up the surface crust remaining from the previous tillage, improving rainwater infiltration and preserving the humidity of the soil. Furthermore, it destroys any weeds that would deprive the main crops of the essential resources necessary for their development. After its use, the soil becomes more porous, facilitating the circulation of air and water to create an ideal environment for the development of plant roots.

Yet, the applications of power harrowing are even more. It can also be used to bury seeds by broadcast seed-drilling, incorporate organic or mineral fertilisers, and bury volatile herbicides to prevent evaporation. For these purposes, using the power harrow in combination with the seed drill offers additional benefits, being particularly appreciated in conservation agriculture and minimum tillage:

  1. Improves tillage efficiency, as more operations can be done simultaneously;
  2. Enables significant fuel savings, as combined machines can reduce the number of machine passes required. All this means less fuel consumption, which not only benefits the environment but also provides significant savings for the farmer;
  3. It ensures less soil compactation, which is particularly important for maintaining soil health.
power harrowing

Why choose the Alpego range

Alpego power harrows are characterised by their versatility, as they are able to adapt to multiple agronomic requirements and guarantee excellent results. The complete range, which offers fixed and folding models from 1 to 8 metres wide, has three different mechanics to meet the numerous market demands.

In 1998, the constant search for innovation and development in the technical field led to the introduction of an alternative to standard ball-bearing mechanics the Twin Force. This patented mechanics has been enhancing the performance of Alpego power harrows for over 25 years and now is available in 2 versions:

  • Twin Force TEK is the professional solution up to 350 HP and is available in the RMT, RTEK, DTEK and DTEK PLUS models.
  • Twin Force MAX, an even more robust and top of the range option for tractors up to 500 HP, is featured in the ultra-high power models RMAX and DMAX.

Designed for efficiency

There are further strengths that make our range exclusive. Thanks to many years of experience in the field and continuous collaboration with its customers, Alpego has developed a number of features that make power harrowing with its products even more optimal. Indeed, a wide range of interchangeable tines is available, from standard to forged tines, characterised by a shape and inclination that ensure a smooth crumbling with low power consumption.

By following a precise rotor timing sequence, it avoids vibrations and improves ground flow, reducing power consumption. In addition, the guards between the rotors not only protect against wear and tear, but also improve crumbling and tillage quality.

Further advantages come from the floating rear roller mounted on a parallelogram, a system that always maintains the same roller inclination as the depth changes. In addition, the levelling bar is fixed to the roller, maintaining constant levelling at every change and in the field manoeuvres. In combinations with the seed drill, the seeding elements maintain constant pressure and depth.

Alpego foldable power harrows have oscillating frames (up to a total of 20° downwards and upwards) to ensure total adaptation to the ground imperfections. The 2 sections can also be left free or locked from the driver’s seat. To conclude, the quick release tine kit ensures safe removal of the tines in a few seconds without any tools.

Power Harrows 4.0

Harrowing tillage is increasingly preferred by operators in the agricultural industry because it can be used in soils characterised by different textures and conditions. Alpego Intelligence technology responds to these needs, and thanks to their technical characteristics it is becoming increasingly essential for the business professionals..

Power harrows equipped with electro-hydraulic technology are able to automatically adjust their settings, thus ensuring even and deep tillage. This feature is particularly advantageous for modern farmers, as it allows them to achieve the best results without manually intervening in several steps.

Models equipped with ISOBUS electronics have precise control systems and adjustments in order to monitor and calibrate the machine settings directly from the driver’s seat. This means that drivers can make changes instantly, without having to leave the vehicle, saving time and effort in complete safety. It is known that whoever works in the field must act quickly but always with the greatest precision.

Opting for technology

Our company is constantly striving to meet the needs of the agricultural sector, focusing on the development of innovative technologies. In this framework, we have introduced the new Alpego Intelligence technologies, designed to maximise the performance and safety of our power harrow ranges. These advanced electronic systems are divided into two distinct packages, aimed at improving the structural functionality of our products and offering increasingly safe, automated and high-performance use.

The A.I. GUARD package allows you to equip power harrows with ISOBUS electronics. This modern technology controls many machine parameters during ongoing use directly from the tractor’s monitor, providing the operator with more efficient control of the vital machine parameters.

Instead, the A.I. MOVE package, integrated with numerous PRO features, represents a significant improvement by expanding the capabilities of our power harrows. With this advanced solution, operators can intuitively and individually manage the functionality of the machine and attachments, optimising the efficiency and flexibility of their operations.

Through the integration of Alpego Intelligence, we strive to offer increasingly cutting-edge solutions to meet our customers’ needs and contribute to developments in Agriculture 4.0.

Alpego Intelligence

Possible disadvantages

Although power harrowing has many advantages, some considerable challenges must be faced in order to not undo its positive effects:

  1. Pay attention to the type of soil and its condition. It is advisable to work on humid soil, so not too wet or excessively dry and preferably free of excessive volumes of crop residues. In addition, a model that is not suitable for your conditions could lead to longer working times or inefficiencies with higher running costs.
  2. Check the compatibility with your tractor. The machine must be aligned with both the power of your tractor and its linkage system in order to avoid problems when used in the field.
  3. Like any machine, the power harrow requires regular maintenance to ensure optimum performance. This includes the lubrication of moving parts, the replacement of worn components and the protection of the machine during periods of inactivity. Certainly, choosing high quality products is the basis of this process, such as the professional lubricants produced by Alpego.

Best practices

The great versatility and reliability of Alpego power harrows means that disadvantages can be minimised, however, it is important to know the best practices of working in the field. Consequently, we recommend to pay attention to:

  • Soil conditions: before starting, make sure that the soil is suitable for using the power harrow. Therefore, avoid using it on soil that is too wet or hard.
  • Depth setting: it is important to set the working depth according to soil conditions and crop requirements. Shallow depths are adequate for seedbed preparation, while deeper settings may be necessary to incorporate amendments or break up compressed layers.
  • The right choice of the roller: it is important to choose the most suitable roller for your soil needs, matched to the weight of the machine. Furthermore, in case of combined machines, the right roller enhances seed-drilling precision.
  • Proper speed: the right speed must be maintained in order not to nullify the effects of tillage. Furthermore, using an incompatible tractor may cause overload or excessive wear.
  • Monitoring during use: during tillage, constantly control the work of the power harrow on the ground. Also, check that it is working evenly and that there are no obstructions or malfunctions.
  • Protection guards: checks that the machine is equipped with an effective protection system in order to prevent damage to the machine elements and its structure in case of sudden collisions or obstacles. Alpego models are characterised by the high robustness of the mechanics used.
  • Machine downtime: by choosing the most efficient and high-tech models, maintenance work can be significantly reduced, because the most reliable machines are designed to last longer. This limits machine downtime, which would otherwise slow down the processing and potentially ruin the entire production process.

In conclusion, choosing power harrowing confirms itself as a valid method of soil tillage, helping to maximise yields, preserve natural resources and ensure the sustainability of the farm.

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