How to choose a cultivator, walk-behind tractor, selection tips and reviews
When choosing a cultivator and walk-behind tractor, consider the following main points.
- Purpose. For owners of plots with an area of 25-30 acres and who do not plan to perform a variety of work (harvesting hay, transporting goods, cleaning snow), it is better to choose a cultivator. If we are talking about a larger area or / and complex work, then in this case a walk-behind tractor will be the best solution.
- Brand. A good cultivator or walk-behind tractor has an appropriate price. Well-known manufacturers offer innovative solutions, quality materials and service. This increases the cost of technology.
- Appearance. The equipment must not have defects (chips, abrasions, deformations, traces of streaks).
- serviceability nodes and units. Check the engine and transmission: the motor should work, and the shafts should rotate. Throttle and clutch cables must not be kinked or frayed. Make sure they move freely.
- Build quality. Bolts and nuts must be well tightened, and the parts must be securely fixed. Moving parts should move smoothly, without jerking or squeaking.
- Documentation. High-quality equipment always has the appropriate documents (passport, instructions).
- own physical condition. For teenagers and women, heavy cultivators or walk-behind tractors are not suitable.
After the acquisition, the walk-behind tractor is subject to registration with the State Technical Supervision Authority. Experts recommend having an open category A license (motorcycle driving).
Let us consider in more detail the characteristics and parameters of walk-behind tractors and cultivators.
Motoblock — self-propelled machine designed for a wide range of agricultural work (including harrowing, hilling, plowing, digging potatoes, cleaning leaves and snow, lawn care). It consists of a motor, transmission, chassis, controls.
The walk-behind tractor supports the installation of additional agricultural implements (equipment), which turns it into a universal machine. So, attaching a trailer with a seat for the operator to the walk-behind tractor turns the unit into a mini-tractor. The flip side of these advantages is a higher price and impressive dimensions.
Cultivator (motor cultivator) — a machine that is used for cultivating the soil (loosening, cutting weed roots, breaking up clods of land). It consists of a motor, cutters, handles, controls and several wheels. The cultivator is lighter and cheaper than a walk-behind tractor, but inferior to it in terms of power and functionality. Most cultivators are non-self-propelled.
Household, amateur (light) — a low-power, compact and relatively cheap unit, designed to process a small area within 30 acres. Weight — 50-70 kg.
Semi-professional (medium) — a more powerful and expensive option that will cope with work on a plot of up to 1 ha. Weight — 80-120 kg.
Professional (heavy) — the most powerful unit capable of processing vast areas from 1 ha. A large number of various equipment is installed on a professional walk-behind tractor, which greatly expands its capabilities. Weight — up to 300 kg.
Domestic — used to process a plot of up to 12 acres. This technique is convenient to use in hard-to-reach places, for example, aisles. Weight — 10-30 kg.
semi-professional — suitable for work on a plot of 12-50 acres. At the same time, large dimensions do not allow the use of this model for processing narrow spaces. Weight — 30-90 kg.
Professional — the optimal solution for processing a spacious area with an area of more than 50 acres. Weight — over 90 kg. Such a cultivator is used with mounted agricultural implements.
self propelled — driven by a motor, equipped with a transmission. This technique is convenient to use as the operator does not have to push it. Disadvantages: high cost, more expensive maintenance, large dimensions. A self-propelled cultivator is better suited for cultivating a larger area than a non-self-propelled counterpart.
non-self-propelled – is driven by the muscular force of the operator. Such a machine is cheaper, more compact and easier to maintain than a self-propelled model.
Electric (from the network) — relatively cheap, light, environmentally friendly, low noise, easy to operate (no need to change the oil). However, such a motor has low power and is limited in mobility by the length of the cable. A mains-operated electric motor is usually supplied with amateur cultivators.
Electric battery — has all the advantages of the previous version, but does not depend on the outlet and the length of the wire. Such machines are heavier and more expensive than analogues with mains power. In addition, the time of continuous operation of the cultivator does not exceed 40 minutes, and it takes a long time to charge the battery.
A machine with an electric motor, due to insufficient power, is not suitable for processing virgin land and deep plowing.
Petrol — powerful, but expensive and heavy. A gas machine will do any job, but is difficult to use (requires an oil change) and emits exhaust fumes. In terms of noise level, this engine is in the middle between an electric and a diesel engine. Most cultivators and walk-behind tractors have a gasoline engine.
Diesel — compares favorably with a gasoline engine in durability, efficiency (diesel fuel is cheaper than gasoline) and high torque at low revs. This feature makes it a good solution for demanding jobs such as ploughing.
Disadvantages of a diesel engine: high noise level, expensive repairs, especially toxic exhaust gases. Such an engine requires very clean fuel. It is rare and is installed only on walk-behind tractors.
The internal combustion engine is represented by two types.
- 2 stroke — powerful at a relatively low price, but very noisy during operation. A 2-stroke engine requires refueling a mixture of gasoline and oil in a precisely defined proportion (deviation from them will lead to premature engine wear).
- 4 stroke – Economical, less noisy and easy to refuel, since petrol and oil are filled separately. Disadvantages: higher price, less power for the same volume. Working with a machine that has a 4-stroke engine requires control of the amount of oil in the crankcase. Semi-professional and professional walk-behind tractors are equipped with such a motor.
Volume — the larger this parameter, the higher the engine power. At the same time, an increase in engine volume entails an increase in fuel consumption and an increase in the total weight of the cultivator or walk-behind tractor.
cylinders – the more cylinders, the more powerful, reliable and durable the engine.
Power — measured in horsepower (hp) or watts (W). The higher this parameter, the more productive the machine.
Power depends on the device class:
- amateur — up to 5.5 liters. With. (motoblock), up to 4 liters. With. (cultivator);
- semi-professional — 4-8 l. c. (motoblock), 5-7 l. c. (cultivator);
- professional — 6-12 l. s. (motoblock), 8-10 l. c. (cultivator).
Recommended device power:
- up to 15 acres — 3.5 liters. With.;
- 15-60 acres — 4 liters. With.;
- 60-100 acres (1 ha) — 5 l. With.;
- 1-2 Ga – 6 l. s.;
- 1-5 Ga – 9 l. s..
Important: to convert horsepower to kilowatts, you should know that 1 liter. s.=735 W. It is recommended to choose a cultivator or a walk-behind tractor with a certain margin of power, which will increase the reliability of the machine.
Pay attention to the features of the soil (virgin, cultivated). The harder the soil can be processed, the more power the equipment should have.
Fuel tank volume / capacity battery — the higher this parameter, the longer the petrol / diesel or electric cultivator or walk-behind tractor will work without refueling / recharging.
A large tank increases the dimensions and weight of the structure. For spacious areas, you will need a car with a large fuel tank, but in a relatively small area it is better to work with a model with a smaller tank.
Fuel consumption — directly depends on the engine power. The more powerful the cultivator or walk-behind tractor, the more fuel it consumes. The current mode of operation also affects fuel consumption.
Launch type — presented in two versions.
- Manual (twitch of the handle) — models with a similar launch are cheap, light and reliable, but not very convenient, since they require skill and physical effort.
- Electric starter — cars with such a launch are more convenient, but heavier and more expensive.
Cooling — there are two types:
- air — cheap and reliable, but not efficient enough (found in low-power motors);
- water — it removes heat much better and increases the life of the motor. Cons: high price, large weight and dimensions.
The larger this parameter, the faster the cultivator or walk-behind tractor will process a certain area. At the same time, as the working width increases, the dimensions and weight of the machine increase, as well as the requirements for engine power.
The processing width depends on the machine class:
- amateur — 20-40 cm;
- semi-professional — 40-85 cm;
- professional — 1 m.
Recommended processing width:
- up to 20 acres — 60 cm;
- 20-60 acres — 80 cm;
- 60-100 acres (1 ha) — 90 cm;
- 1-5 ha – 100 cm (1 m).
Important: to choose the right walk-behind tractor, proceed from the ratio of 30 cm per 1 liter. With. (2-stroke) and 20 cm wide per 1 liter. With. (4-stroke). Low-power motors work at the limit of their capabilities and quickly break down. Therefore, you should not purchase a walk-behind tractor with low power and a large working width.
When doing this, take into account the condition of the soil and the required working depth, since the use of the machine on loose soil and shallow depth will require less power (for the same working width).
It is selected taking into account the characteristics of the soil. The thicker the soil layer, the greater the depth of processing and vice versa — a shallow soil layer will require less depth. In most models, this parameter is in the range of 20-30 cm, and some machines boast a processing depth of 40 cm.
As the depth of processing increases, so does the power of the machine. This parameter can be adjusted depending on the type of cultivated soil. The more depth levels, the more precisely the cultivator is adjusted to the cultivation of a particular soil.
The depth of processing is affected by the diameter of the cutters (knives): a larger size means deeper cultivation or plowing.
The depth of processing depends on the class of the machine:
- amateur — 8-20 cm;
- semi-professional — 25-28 cm;
- professional — 30 cm and above.
Performance — allows you to evaluate how quickly the cultivator or walk-behind tractor will cope with the processing of a certain area. The unit of measure is hectare per hour (ha/h). The performance is affected by the power of the motor, the parameters of the width and depth of processing, the type of soil.
Number of cutters – defines the maximum processing width in one pass. 1-4 pairs of cutters are installed in cultivators and a number of medium-sized walk-behind tractors. With an increase in cutters, the processing width increases and the load on the motor and transmission increases. If there are few cutters, then the machine loses stability. The number of cutters depends on the condition and characteristics of the soil.
Recommendations for the number of cutters:
- 2 pairs (4 pieces) — complex soil;
- 3-4 pairs (6-8 pieces) – lighter soil, difficult soil in the second or third pass.
Rotation speed of cutters – 100-200 rpm is sufficient for most agricultural work. Models with the lowest speed of rotation of the cutters are the most powerful, but a very high speed indicates less power and reliability of the equipment (at high speeds it is easy to break the cultivator when it collides with an obstacle).
clutch type — belt clutch is found in cheap cultivators or walk-behind tractors, and disc (friction) has a good balance of reliability and price. As for the pneumatic clutch, it is effective, but very expensive and is used only in powerful machines.
Power take-off shaft (PTO) — transmits the torque of the motor to the equipment connected to the cultivator or walk-behind tractor. Such a device expands the functionality of the machine, but increases its cost and weight.
Important: When selecting accessories, make sure they are compatible with the machine. Key reference points are the requirements for rotational speed and the types of liners on the PTO.
Additional equipment is connected to the PTO in two ways:
- pulley — a simple option that is used in models with a belt clutch;
- shaft — a more reliable solution that is found in powerful machines.
Pay attention to the type of gearbox (drive) that the cultivator or walk-behind tractor is equipped with. The worm gear is found in cheap and compact equipment, the more expensive chain is installed in the medium power model. The most reliable — a gear reducer is used in expensive and powerful models with a transmission and the ability to reverse.
Number of gears — in different models, this parameter is different: 1 front and 1 rear, 6 front and 2 rear, 3 front and 1 rear.
Differential lock — improves maneuverability and patency, reduces the turning radius of the cultivator and walk-behind tractor.
Reverse (reverse) — reverse gear, which provides comfortable work in cramped conditions (self-propelled models) or rotation of the shaft in the opposite direction to the regular one (non-self-propelled). This option facilitates the use of a cultivator or walk-behind tractor.
wheels — are cast and pneumatic. The former are puncture-resistant and do not need to be inflated, while the latter are lighter and provide good shock absorption when colliding with various obstacles, but are easily damaged and require periodic inflation.
Wheel diameter — the larger this parameter, the easier the cultivator or walk-behind tractor will overcome various obstacles in the cultivated area. If the terrain is relatively flat, then this parameter is not critical. But for operation on a site with bumps and pits, you will need a unit with large wheels.
Wheel width — the greater this characteristic, the easier the car climbs uphill and overcomes various obstacles.
Noise level — the smaller this parameter, the quieter the cultivator or walk-behind tractor works and the more comfortable its use. A car with a low noise level will not disturb the neighbors, which is especially important when using equipment at night.
Agricultural implements — expand the capabilities of the cultivator and walk-behind tractor.
The following equipment is found:
- scumbag – for hilling and cutting furrows;
- plow — for plowing the soil, depending on the design, the plow is capable of dumping the earth on two or one side;
- картофелекопатель — for collecting potatoes;
- aerator — for loosening the soil (as a result, the earth is saturated with oxygen);
- lawnmower — for cutting vegetation (a rotary mower is more productive, but less safe, and a knife mower has better maneuverability and is suitable for inter-row processing);
- cart — for transporting goods weighing 250-550 kg (such a trolley is equipped with a seat for the operator);
- lugs — for high-quality adhesion of the machine to the ground (found in low-power equipment);
- bulldozer knife — for cleaning snow, earth;
- rotary brush — turns the walk-behind tractor into a snowplow. Also used for garbage collection.
Headlights Needed to work at night.
Plant fences – protect plantings from getting under the cutter and thereby prevent their damage. This makes it possible to use the cultivator close to the plants. Such an accessory should be in inter-row cultivation.
Handle height adjustment — allows you to adjust the handles to the height of the user. This feature provides additional comfort when working with a cultivator or walk-behind tractor.
Side turn handle — allows the operator to control the cultivator or walk-behind tractor, moving not behind it (the usual option), but from the side. Thanks to this, the cultivated soil is not trampled.
Wheels (for transportation) — simplify the transportation of the unit, and in some cases are used as an additional point of support when parking or moving. Unlike the main wheels, which are used to move the machine during operation, these wheels are used only during non-working hours.
Important: in no case should you move equipment on cutters, as they will bend and break. As a result, a damaged cutter during operation can damage the gearbox housing of the machine.
- Before using a cultivator or walk-behind tractor, make sure that the working mechanisms are securely fastened, that the bolts on the gearbox are tightened.
- Use gasoline with an octane rating of at least 92. Check the oil level in the crankcase and clean the air filter periodically.
- Do not overload the motor. This also applies to prolonged idling. If the walk-behind tractor is used permanently, for example, for chopping firewood, then it is better to place it in the shade and in a well-ventilated place.
- After finishing work, wipe the working parts with a dry cloth.
- It is advisable to have a notebook in which information about breakdowns, maintenance measures and repairs carried out on equipment will be recorded. This will make it possible to use the machine more efficiently and extend its service life.