Wherever and whenever someone seeks to make anything grow from the earth, soil cultivation is vital. This is because the soil conditions must be perfect for whatever you are planting if it is going to thrive, regardless of whether you’re at home in the garden or preparing extensive vegetable patches for commercial growing. Effective soil cultivation kills weeds, relieves soil compaction and releases nitrogen as soil is loosened, boosting fertility in the process. Preparing growing beds properly is therefore especially important for those who need to ensure a bumper yield from their crops year after year, particularly commercial growers working on larger plots of land. But since soil cultivation can be very time-consuming (not to mention back-breaking) when done manually, anyone tending to an area larger than a domestic garden will need a little mechanical assistance to ensure efficiency.
Luckily for us green-fingered types, powered tillers and cultivators fill this horticultural niche nicely. These machines use hardworking petrol engines and a set of sturdy metal tines to dig into the ground, turning and loosening compacted soil while also uprooting unwanted weeds in your planting beds. This makes them ideal for initial preparation of vegetable patches and other growing plots as well as ongoing soil maintenance, saving significant time and effort so that you can concentrate on other aspects of your business (or perhaps just take a little extra time off). However, because most tillers on the market these days are smaller machines aimed at the domestic market it is imperative to make sure the machine you buy is up to the demands of commercial growing work.
This is why Honda produces a variety of professional quality mid-tine tillers and rotovators suitable for commercial users. Although not quite powerful enough to tackle full-scale agricultural applications — the traditional tractor plus plough combination is still your best bet if you’re packing some serious acreage — these machines are perfect for market gardeners, smallholders and viniculture work. As with all of Honda’s horticultural machinery, these tillers are built for long term dependability, power and superb manoeuvrability and are therefore just as capable of breaking up dense earth as they are tilling up and down between narrowly planted rows of crops. But with Honda’s extensive range taking in a number of top quality tillers it is also important that you pick the machine best suited to your specific needs.
We’ll begin with the F510 and F720. These versatile mid-tine tillers have been designed for compatibility with a wide rage tools and accessories, making them perfect for a variety of routine soil cultivation tasks around smallholdings and market gardens. When fitted with Honda’s heavy duty slasher rotors, for example, the F510 and F720 each offer a variety of working widths between 65cm and 95cm and will happily make short work of loosening even the heaviest soil. Both machines also offer six forward and two reverse gears as well, allowing you to further tailor performance to suit the conditions at hand (a slower forward speed, for example, allows the tiller to properly incorporate the sod without overworking the soil, while the reverse gears make it easy to free the digging equipment should it become stuck during operation).
Both machines also feature Honda’s cutting edge GX series four-stroke engines, making them quieter and cleaner running than many competing tillers. The F720 is a bit more powerful than the F510 though (with an engine capacity of 196cc compared to the F510’s 163cc), so anyone faced with regular heavy workloads may want to invest in this extra clout. The other side of this coin is that the F510 is significantly lighter and more manoeuvrable than the F720, so prolonged periods of operation are less tiring and it is easier to work with precision in more confined areas with the F510. But both can be equipped with accessories such as ridgers, potato lifters and ploughs (the F720 is even compatible with tow-behind five-tine and rotary cultivator units), so either of these hardworking tillers will deliver exceptional results throughout the growing and harvesting process.
At the very top end of the Honda cultivators range, however, we find a pair of machines even more impressive than the F510 and F720; Honda’s FF300 and FF500 rotary cultivators. These powerful tillers feature Honda’s unique front-mounted counter-rotating tines, which effortlessly break up hard soil without the “bucking” effect that can happen with other tillers (it’s a ground-breaking innovation, in every sense). Combined with Honda’s equally advanced four-stroke engine technology and four-speed transmission systems, this allows these machines to tackle even the most challenging soil cultivation work while ensuring you remain in complete control at all times. Handling is further enhanced by the inclusion of differential steering, multiple handle positions and a transportation wheel on each machine, thereby ensuring that long working days don’t become too tiring.
The FF300 is the lighter and more compact of these two outstanding machines, powered by a 57cc GX57 Honda four-stroke engine and offering an adjustable working width of up to 41cm. Despite its relatively diminutive size, however, the counter-rotating tines mean that it is equally capable of breaking up densely compacted soil or weeding between rows of planted crops. Nevertheless, for the largest gardens you will still want the extra power of the FF500 on your side. With its 160cc GCV160 four-stroke petrol engine and maximum working width of 55cm the FF500 is pretty much the best of its kind in terms of tackling sizeable plots of uncultivated ground and anyone looking to scale up an existing enterprise could therefore save a lot of time and effort by getting their hands on one of these hardworking machines.
The combination of power, durability and versatility offered by Honda’s mid-tine tillers means that they are among the best on the market today, regardless of the size or type of commercial growing operation you are running. A high quality tiller such as one of the machines mentioned above is therefore a must-have piece of equipment for any commercial grower, with Honda cultivators making even backbreaking jobs seem easy and helping to ensure that the growing conditions in your planting beds are perfect for your crop. Investing in a Honda rotovator can thus help to boost the yield produced by your land for years to come, more than paying for itself over its service life and saving a lot of hard work in the process!