Agronomic Row Crops
High-Residue Cultivator

Intended for no-till or ridge-till fields, tilled fields with up to 60 percent residue or untilled residue equivalent to a corn crop of up to 160 bushels/acre, moderate soils, stones up to 10 pounds.

Crop Height Testing Chart

Overview: Single-sweep cultivators were created in the '70s to work in substantial amounts of crop residue. Compared with S-tine units with multiple-shanks per gang, these tools can move more soil (including building ridges at last cultivation), work in tighter soils, and cope with more severe obstructions. Wide, flat sweeps of several designs undercut weeds and leave residue on the surface. Adjusting for more aggressive cultivation (tilting the sweep point downward) can push the sweep deep enough to disrupt incorporated herbicide layers in row middles, often releasing a new flush of weeds.

A diagram of a farming tool with labels

Design Features: Box-beam type main toolbars, fabricated steel-plate gang members and heavy-duty curved or straight shanks are common. Virtually all have parallel linkage, stabilizing coulters and residue-cutting coulters. Ground clearance ranges from 19" to 32", so match with your anticipated field conditions.
Front-to-back clearance varies greatly in this class. 'Close-coupled' units set a single sweep immediately behind a residue-cutting coulter. This lightens the strain on hydraulics but sacrifices some residue-handling capacity. Longer gang frames facilitate residue movement, but these units usually require more hydraulic power to lift because sweeps are mounted farther behind the tractor's center of gravity. Optional disk hillers may work with close-coupled units in lighter residue conditions but won't have the clearance to handle higher amounts. They can be set to cut weeds and soil away from the row or to throw soil from between the rows back into the row. Operating depth is 1" to 2".

Model for comparison: 15', rigid frame model for 6 rows on 30" centers (6R30)
Includes toolbar; C-shank, box-beam or curved standards; wide one-piece sweeps; residue-cutting coulters; gauge wheels/gang; disk hillers.
Rec. PTO HP: 75 to 120
4 to 8 mph
List price:
$8,000 to $12,300
Width range (all makers/all models): 5' to 40'

Sources: 2, 5, 12, 18, 21, 37, 40, 46, 47, 62, 73, 78

Farmers: Artho, Bennett, Berning, Cavin, Chambers, Erisman, Thacker