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The spader is set of mechanical shovels that prepare soil for planting without causing a hardpan typical of rototiller tilling. Also called a "rotary spader".


Agricultural Spader - This is the most advanced, but least affordable, method of soil preparation for planting. The spader is the mechanized equivalent of several digging shovels. It is operated by the power take off (PTO) behind a tractor. It operates like a rototiller, but with reciprocating spades. It is a superior method of soil preparation for planting - because, unlike a rototiller, it leaves better soil structure without creating a hardpan underneath the tilling layer. Moreover, the spader is capable of deeper tilling. This is the state of art in soil preparation, but few farmers are privy to it because of high cost - $5k for used machines. Our version will be driven by tractor hydraulics, eliminating costly gearing. The fabrication is not straightforward like a rototiller, as the spader spades ride on cams that are offset from a rotating axle. Effective fabrication strategy must be developed. Overall, this would help improve farmers' efficiency. The spader (and rototiller) are a one step soil preparation method - unlike plowing - which is typically followed by multiple disking or disking and harrowing.

They do not leave a "hardpan" due to the somewhat random action of the spades. Spaders are very expensive in north America as they are all made in Italy/Holland etc. (see links below). Inventing an open source spader would be a great achievment. They are a one pass type of implement, allowing easy working in of cover crops into the soil. Towing the spader behind LifeTrac would be easy as spaders are not a real load on the tractor/machine. All that is needed is a slow hydrostatic drive, but we have that covered.


  • The embedded video, showing a Celli spader with "shovels", is from a University of Vermont DVD (available here).
  • Spader setup and operation - note 3rd pic down: it's the soil "pulverizer" after the spades. Spades dig first, "pulverizer" breaks up the clods and makes seed bed. Imants use a roller with curved tines instead. Does it all in one operation. Looks almost exactly like your tines on soil pulverizer.
  • Good spader video, shows the Imants final roller with tines. He discusses the mechanism up close.

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See Also

The Global Village Construction Set
Habitat CEB Press Cement Mixer Sawmill Bulldozer Backhoe
Agriculture Tractor Seeder Hay Rake Well-Drilling Rig
Microtractor Soil Pulverizer Spader Hay Cutter Trencher
Bakery Oven Dairy Milker Microcombine Baler
Industry Multimachine Ironworker Laser Cutter Welder Plasma Cutter
CNC Torch Table Metal Roller Rod and Wire Mill Press Forge Universal Rotor
3D Printer 3D Scanner CNC Circuit Mill Industrial Robot Chipper Hammermill
Drill Press Induction Furnace
Energy Power Cube Gasifier Burner Solar Concentrator Electric Motor Generator Hydraulic Motor
Steam Engine Heat Exchanger Wind Turbine Pelletizer Universal Power Supply
Nickel-Iron Battery
Materials Aluminum Extractor Bioplastic Extruder
Transportation Car Truck

Imprimante 3D Scanner 3D Extracteur d'Aluminum Pelleteuse Four à Pain Presse à balles de paille Extrudeuse à bioplastiques Bulldozer Voiture Presse BTC Betonnière Broyeur à marteaux Imprimante de circuits électroniques Table de découpe numérique Trayeuse Perçeuse à colonne Moteur électrique Gazogène Faucheuse Râteau à foin Moteur hydraulique Fourneau à induction Bras robotisé Poinçonneuse Découpeur Laser Laminoir à plaques Microcombine Microtracteur Multimachine Batterie Ni-Fe Machine à granulés Torche plasma Power Cube Presse hydraulique Laminoir à barres et fils de fer Pulvérisateur de terre Scierie Semoir Concentrateur solaire Roto-bêche Moteur à vapeur Echangeur de chaleur Tracteur Fraiseuse de tranchée Camion Alimentation électrique universelle Rotor universel Poste de soudure à l'arc Plateforme de forage de puits Eolienne

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