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What Is the Difference Between a Cultipacker and a Cultimulcher?

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No differences exist between a cultipacker and a cultimulcher. They are the same piece of equipment and are also called roller harrows, soil pulverizers and corrugated rollers. The confusion in thinking that they are two different pieces of equipment probably originates from references that use the words, "cultipacker or cultimulcher." This phrase is meant to signify that the equipment is referred to by two different names.


A cultipacker or cultimulcher is used after a field has been plowed and disked. The purpose of the cultipacker is to crush clods and firm the soil surface. In doing so, it levels the ground, eliminates large air pockets and prepares the field for planting. Small ridges left by the cultipacker help prevent soil crusting following heavy rains. A culitpacker is an important implement for preparing seedbeds for grass and clover. The seeds of these plants are small and need firm contact with tilled soil for germination.


A cultimulcher's primary part is a cylinder assembly composed of a row of wheel-shaped packer plates mounted side by side on an axle. The outer edges of each packer plate are peaked, giving the cylinder a wavy appearance when the plates are mounted tightly together. The packer plates are either smooth or notched. The cylinder is mounted to the cultipacker's frame through bearings that allow the drum to turn as the machine is pulled across the field.


Cultipackers are manufactured in a variety of configurations. Small cultipackers are composed of one packing cylinder whereas large ones have two or more cylinders. Often a row of spring teeth is mounted between two packing cylinders. Spring teeth break big lumps of soil, close large air spaces and bring buried clods to the surface so that they can be crushed by a cylinder. Rubber-tired-wheels are sometimes mounted on top of the frame so that the cultipacker can be flipped over for travel between fields.


Heavy drags of various types can be used rather than a cultipacker to smooth and firm soil. Drags can be a piece of woven fence wire weighted with concert blocks, a length of utility pole or a 12-inch steel pipe. Drags will not firm soil as well as cultipackers because a drag floats on top of the soil while a cultipacker presses down on the soil. Steel rollers also smooth and firm soil, but they don't leave valleys in the soil to prevent crusting.

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