PRESS BULLETIN 211
UNIVERSITY OF FLORIDA
AGRICULTURAL EXPERIMENT STATION
INSTRUMENTS FOR CULTIVATION
By A. P. Spencer
Thorough cultivation of Florida soils is an effective means of increasing
crop yields. In many cases the success or failure of a crop depends on the
cultivation during the period from first plowing to harvesting. Farm lands
in Florida would be more productive if the moisture supply were controlled
by judicious cultivation. Soils that were deeply plowed early in the season
and have a liberal supply of humus have sufficient moisture now stored up
to produce a good crop yield, even though little or no rain should fall be-
tween planting and ripening, provided the moisture is not unnecessarily per-
mitted to escape by evaporation or taken up by weeds.
Permitting grass and weeds to grow into sod, and then plowing the mid-
dles out with a turning plow, is almost sure to result in a low yield of
corn. The scooter plow or one-horse plow is not suitable for cultivation.
The ordinary sweep or small shallow working tool is better, but will not
do enough work per day. One of the most useful implements is the adjustable
weeder. It costs about $12. It is light, and one horse can haul it. When
working over the crop (not between the rows), it should cultivate 8 to 10
acres per day. It can be run over corn, cotton, sweet potatoes, some vegeta-
bles, and even winter pasture crops. All the surface should be cultivated
right up to the plants. This can be repeated until the plants are two feet
high. Then the weeder can be adjusted to run between the rows, until the
crop is made. If this is done regularly once a week, little or no hoeing will
A light smoothing harrow will answer a similar purpose until the plants
are twelve inches high, if the teeth are set so as not to tear up the crop.
The surface two-horse cultivator with knife-like attachments working like
sweeps does excellent work. It is adjustable to any width of row, and is
made to work shallow. It is light, and will cultivate six to eight acres a
day. It costs about $15. It straddles the row and cultivates one-halt the
middles on both sides.
A riding two-horse cultivator would be a good investment for any farmer
with 25 or more acres in cultivation, providingthe land is mostly cleared
May 10, 1913
from stumps. These machines are equipped with levers and adjustments,
making it possible to run between any width of row or cultivate to any de-
sired depth. Six or eight acres per day can be cultivated when the rows are
four feet apart. The machine will cost about $45.
For a larger farm a better tool is the double two-horse riding cultivator.
It cultivates the entire middle of two rows, and in four-foot rows will cover
from 14 to 17 acres per day. It has various attachments and will cost about
$55. Such machines have many uses.
Spring Tooth Cultivator.
The Diverse Spring Tooth Cultivator is especially good for keeping down
Bermuda or nut-grass in cultivated crops. The long spring teeth will cover
most of the grass they fail to tear out, and if the grass is kept below the
surface the roots will soon die. The implement has two sections with a
lever for each. When cultivating between rows, if it is desirable to throw
some dirt up to the plants the levers are thrown backward, while to throw
the dirt to the middle the levers must be shifted forward. The cultivator is
also equipped with fenders, so that the row may be straddled, cultivating
both sides at 'once, and the dirt thrown to the plants or away from them
The mulch harrow does good work, especially when crops are nearly ma-
ture. The tooth bars are slightly curved downward so as to conform to the
rows, The lever adjusts the angle of the teeth so that they run quite deep
when it is thrown forward. By shifting the lever backward the implement
becomes a smoothing harrow, and breaks only the thin crust on the sur-
face. It has about sixteen teeth, arranged as with the ordinary smootning
harrow. The cost is approximately $7.
The ordinary one-horse cultivator, used mostly in vegetable field~, does
good work in tall crops, working between the rows when the crop is about
mature. The best of these machines are equipped behind with rake-like at-
tachments to smooth the ridges made by the cultivator feet, and drag out,
or bury the grass and weeds.
Disk Cultivator for Sweet Potatoes
Most riding cultivators have various attachments suitable for different
crops. One of the most useful of these is the three disk attachment, espe-
cially in making beds for sweet potatoes. If after making the beds they are
still too flat, the disks may be set to throw the soil higher when going over
the beds a second time.
The same disk cultivator can be used for cultivating the beds after the
plants are growing, or for running over the sides of the bed with these disks,
and then reversing on the same row so as to force the loose soil back. (The
tender attachment between the plants and the inner disks prevents covering
the smaller plants.) This can be repeated until the plants have made a con-
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