which rotavator?

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fen not fen
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which rotavator?

Postby fen not fen » Sun Jan 22, 2006 5:39 pm

We're on the brink of buying a rotavator for our 2 acres of market garden on a silty loam. Can anyone make any suggestions as to the minimum horse power, the benefits of ones with wheels over the ones without? Are there any makes we should avoid like the plague?
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Postby peter » Mon Jan 23, 2006 8:24 am

Wheels, always wheels.

The ones without basically bounce along on the revolving tines and are held back by the skid, you cotrol progress by raising or lowering the handles, thus sticking or unsticking the skid. Don't get me wrong, they work fine, they are just a bit wearing to control and you shoulders and back take alot of strain wrestling the thing on a straight course. With the handles offset it becomes a real handful. Also sometimes you end up heading for the antipodes, then the horizon if your conrtol is a little out. I used an elderly Merry Tiller on 20 rod and its fine, but I moved up to wheeled rotovators.

With wheels you have much more control, also you can reverse and drive to work, and in/out of shed. Being able to offset the handles is a realistic proposition on wheeled ones as you can still control and avoid walking on the dug surface.The skid still plays a part in holding back, but much less. One thing that can happen is if you hit a hard bit the whole machine can launch for the horizon with the wheels skidding, pushed along by the rotors, difficult to lift the handles when it runs away, but that is what kill switches are for!

For commercial use on two acres you will need a largish wheeled item, Camon or the Italian "two wheeled tractor" types. I would suggest Howard, but you will need to rely on it completely and they are old now, though you could buy several reasonable one for the price of a new equivalent.

However, have you considered a small tractor such as a Kubota with a rotovator, some e-bayers trade in them, one up at the mo' for £570 (not hit reserve yet). They seem to have many other attachements available, back-hoe (JCB bit), loading bucket, plough, trailer, mower etc etc.
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Postby secret guest » Wed Jan 25, 2006 11:44 am

Even on 2 acres I would go for a Howard 350. It's fairly light and manageable, you can get it between rows and they are indestructable and reliable. You can also get spares and there is an enormous number around still.

For luxury as well as the Howard, a compact tractor with a rotovator on the back and a front loader would prove a real boon. If you can get hold of one, you will wonder how you ever did without it. This presupposes that you can keep it securely locked away when not in use of course.
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