A disc harrow is a implement that is used to cultivate the soil where crops are to be planted. It is also used to chop up unwanted weeds or crop remains. It consists of many iron or steel discs which have slight concavity and are arranged into two or four sections. When viewed from a above, the four sections would appear to form an "X" which has been flattened to be wider than it is tall. The discs are also offset so that they are not parallel with the overall direction of the implement. This is so they slide the ground they cut over a little bit to optimize the result. The concavity of the discs as well as their being offset causes them to loosen and pick-up the soil they cut.
In the olden days, disc harrows usually only consisted of two sections and which were horse-drawn and had no hydraulic functionality. These harrows were often adjustable so that the discs angle would not be offset so that they could be transported without ripping up the ground as much and so not as hard to pull.
Modern disc harrows are tractor-driven and are raised hydraulically. Some large ones even have side sections which raise up vertically to allow easier road transport or better storage configurations.
Disc harrows are primarily used to break up soil that has been recently Ploughed to eliminate clumps and loosen the soil if it has been packed down. They are also used to chop up old crops, such as corn stubble, to make the land easier to plough and to eliminate clogging in the ploughing process.
references / sources
- Wikipedia for basic article to define term used in other articles
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