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Harrows: General Information

The harrow is a farm machine used after ploughing to even the top layer of the soil. Harrowing also lets air circulate in the top layer and prepares it for seeding. It smooths down clots of earth and removes weeds from the ploughed field.

The main kinds of modern harrow include the power harrow, the rotary harrow, the reciprocating harrow and the disc harrow.

The power harrow is used to eradicate weeds and get the ground ready for seeding. It is also used to place herbicide on fields. It is moved by the tractor it sits on.

 The rotary harrow has spiked wheels that turn as the machine moves across the field. It is used to even the soil and get it ready for planting.

The reciprocating harrow features long iron bars with sharp spikes that face towards the ground. The bars move in a reciprocal fashion, each side moving, in turn, diagonally.

The disc harrow is fitted with circular metal plates that cut and smooth the soil and chop up weeds. Cultivators are harrows designed to even out specific parts of a piece of land. They can be attached to a motor; or, if they are small, moved manually.




Harrows have been employed for thousands of years. The ancient Romans, Greeks and Egyptians used simple harrows carved of wood, or made of branches. In the 19th century, different types of harrow were invented; for example, the Shakers’ rotary harrow, and David Garver’s spring tooth harrow.


Important manufacturers include Amazone, Krone, Kuhn, Massey Ferguson, and Sigma. Amazone and Kuhn are both German concerns that have been in operation since the 19th century, specializing in farm equipment, with branches in North America. Krone is a US company that makes machines to help with hay harvesting. Massey Ferguson is a British/Canadian concern; Victorian era Canadian Daniel Massey was a pioneer in reaping and threshing technology. British company Sigma Enterprises makes machines for mining and farming, as well as other equipment.