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Posted July 2020
The Naitauba farm recently started using a two-wheeled tractor in addition to our four-wheeled tractors. This small tractor has made a huge difference for the farm crew by saving us many hours of hard, back-breaking manual digging. It actually does a better job at preparing our vegetable beds for planting than we could do by hand.
What is a two-wheeled tractor?
The two-wheel tractor we use on Naitauba is manufactured by the B.C.S. company in Italy. They started making such tractors in the 1940’s to help farmers mow their hay more efficiently on the steep Italian hillsides. Today, millions of these two-wheeled tractors are being used by small farms around the world.
We currently use two mechanical implements with our two-wheeled tractor: (1) a power harrow to prepare vegetable growing beds for planting seedlings and (2) a mower to control grass in the fruit orchards.
It is wonderful how the harrow implement works with the soil. It has a very “light touch” compared with regular soil-cultivation machinery which is heavier and tends to damage the soil structure. The harrow tills only the top two inches of soil, just enough to soften it for the seedlings.
The two-wheel tractor and power harrow can prepare three 40-meter beds for planting in about 20 minutes. When we prepared these same three beds by hand—digging and raking them smooth—it took three farm crew members an entire morning. Plus, they needed to dig a lot deeper than just two inches.
This week a cargo shipment arrived on Naitauba with two new implements we will use with our two-wheeled tractor—a wood chipper and a rotary plough. In future posts we will describe how these implements work out on the farm.