Rotary hoes are interesting light tillage tools that have been around for quite some time. The implements can provide a variety of benefits to many farm operations, and benefits that are becoming especially relevant in the current agricultural climate.
Jeff Wherley of Yetter Farm Equipment recently spoke to us about the company’s rotary hoe lineup and the unique role that its implements can fill.
Wherley explained that weed control is a primary focus of Yetter rotary hoes.
“The rotary hoe’s unique wheel design allows it to flick weeds onto the soil surface where their roots are left to bake in the Sun, causing the plants to die.”
The use of a rotary hoe as a weed control option does require that the Sun is out, as it is needed to bake uprooted weeds, and that the rotary hoe is only used while crops are in specific stages, as a crop can be damaged by a rotary hoe if it is subjected to the implement at an incorrect growth stage. This means that there can be fairly small timeframes within a growing season where the rotary hoe can be optimally pulled through all of a farm operation’s fields.
Luckily, with recommended working speeds between 13-16 kilometres per hour (8-10 miles per hour) and machine configurations that are as wide as 66 feet, Yetter Farm Equipment’s rotary hoes can cover large swaths of land efficiently. Also, the entirely mechanical nature of the machine means that the implement is more capable of being an efficient weed control option than many would initially assume. This is due to the implements being able to avoid many of the delays that are common with other weed control tools, such as sprayers that have to periodically stop to refill on water and chemicals.
Wherley said that the implement is popular with organic growers that can not rely on chemicals to manage weeds, and it may be something that catches on more with non-organic farmers considering that herbicide resistance in weeds has presented itself as an ever-growing issue in North American crops over the years.
The Yetter rotary hoe also excels in aiding crop emergence according to Wherley.
“After planting and before emergence, growers sometimes see a crusty layer of soil develop on their fields. Yetter rotary hoes fracture that soil layer, making it much easier for crops to emerge.”
Something as simple as a heavy rain soon after planting or seeding can create a hard crop-stunting layer of soil. Considering how the development of that unwanted soil layer can go as far as forcing the reseeding of entire pieces of land, the soil-fracturing feature of the Yetter rotary hoe is one of the most important features of the implement for many of the growers that have one.
A single pass with a Yetter rotary hoe is enough to break up the soil around the seed and ease the emergence process according to the company.
Wherley said Yetter Farm Equipment’s rotary hoes are useful in a variety of other scenarios as well.
In pre-planting situations, the rotary hoes can assist with drying up residue by mixing and spreading it. The Yetter implements also loosen and aerate soil, making it capable of warming up more quickly which may make it possible to begin planting earlier in the spring.
The rotary hoes are able to work various products into the soil as well. The equipment manufacturer says that a single pass is enough to work anything from herbicides to small seeds and cover crops into a field.
Growers are beginning to look at alternative methods of controlling weeds as a result of chemical resistance issues. There are a variety of options available, which include options of chemical, mechanical, and biological nature to name a few.
The rotary hoe lineup offered by Yetter Farm Equipment presents itself as an interesting mechanical weed control option that is immune to herbicide resistance-based challenges. Beyond weed control, Yetter’s rotary hoes offer a variety of additional benefits that may see them become a worthy addition to many North American farm operations.
(All photos are courtesy of Yetter Farm Equipment)