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Power Harrows - BCS, Rinaldi

Berta Rotary Plow (GroundBlaster)

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Single Rotary Plow on
BCS walking tractor

The Rotary Plow is a highly effective “primary tillage” implement, capable of penetrating sod 12” deep in ONE PASS; it’s side-discharge nature also makes it very popular for building Raised Beds. This tool was pioneered on a walk-behind tractor by the Gravely® company many years ago…it was effective, but the front–PTO design of the Gravely® tractors made operation of this tool rather dangerous. The Berta Company of Italy has refined the design and made the plow applicable as a rear-PTO implement for most European walk-behind tractors. Putting the rotary plow in the rear of the tractor improved the handling immeasurably (always better to PULL a load than to push it! That’s why trailers are behind vehicles…). BCS now purchases the Rotary Plow from Berta and “private-labels” it as their own implement: the GroundBlaster”. The paint job and the name are different, but it is exactly the same implement.

Essentially the rotary plow has a vertical shaft with 4 spiral blades (plowshares) rotating at up to 250 rpm (depending on engine speed). Soil in front of the plow is cut into and then immediately centrifugally discharged to the side as it is somewhat inverted to bury the sod that was on top. Basically, in a single pass through sod, the plow will leave a 10-12 inch depth of worked soil. And because the soil is not trapped under a hood and repeatedly pulverized (like with a tiller), the soil structure is not beat to death. Tilth of soil is similar to that which has been “plowed and disked” with a conventional tractor: Good enough for large seeds and vegetable starts; may need secondary tillage on the top 2” - 3” for small seeds.

The plow works 8-10” wide per pass, but unlike a tiller, there is no such thing as a ‘second pass’ with a Rotary Plow to achieve extra depth, so it more than makes up for it’s narrow working width in the fact that it only has to go over the ground ONCE to get to it’s full working depth. (EXCEPTION: In some highly-compacted soils, a second pass may be needed to achieve full depth…this is rare.) The cutting tips on the bottoms of the plow blades are reversible in 4 positions to achieve maximum life, and easily and inexpensively replaceable when worn out completely.

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Rotary Plow plowing down
4-foot-tall cover crop

The horizontal movement of the blades through the soil causes little or no hardpan and is actually less violent than a rototiller when hitting rocks, tree roots, etc. Customers have reported to us that basketball-sized rocks are turned out by the plow “and you hardly feel them!”

Absolutely unbeatable for breaking new ground, and we have also found it excellent for turning in standing cover crop up to 4 feet tall. (A shear blade at the top of the rotor keeps material from “winding” around the shaft). Exploiting the side-discharge nature of this tool (which will throw soil up to 24 inches past the edge of the hood) awesome (and amazingly flat-topped) raised beds,
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Raised beds made in an afternoon
with Berta Rotary Plow

power ridging and hilling can be achieved. Can be used as a trencher of sorts, too, to a limited depth. Depth can be regulated to less than the full 12” by installing a gauge wheel (included), which has holes in 1” increments to limit depth to as little as 6”. Side-discharge distance can be controlled by a removable side flap (included), and by engine RPM, since the “discharge” is centrifugal.

We carry two versions of the Rotary Plow:

  • Single version: Shown in photos above, discharges soil to right side. Most popular due to cost and weight; good for relatively flat and square/rectangular plots. Weighs 95 lbs.
  • Swivel (reversible) version: (shown below) Has TWO plowshare rotors which turn opposite directions; gearbox mounted on perfectly-balanced swivel, so it can be instantly “flipped” so that right OR left discharge can be achieved. The swivel version is designed for hillside work and terracing when soil needs to be thrown uphill or downhill ONLY; also good for odd-shaped (not square or rectangular) plots. The swivel version is VERY HEAVY (150 lbs.)—requires front weight for tractor engine to properly counter-balance plow.

Berta Swivel plow, in LH-discharge position

Berta Swivel plow, in RH-discharge position

Rotary plows will work on BCS and Grillo walk-behind tractors that have at least 9.5 hp (gas) or 8 hp (diesel) AND 5x10x20” wheels or larger.
NOTE #1: If using the plow to break new ground (sod), it is critical that the distance between the wheels of the tractor is 16” to 18”(measured from the inside of one wheel to the inside of the other). TYPICALLY, the closer you get to 18”, the better the plow will perform because it takes a bigger “bite” (varies somewhat in different soil types). Axle extensions may be required to achieve optimal working width on wheels.
NOTE #2: *(If the plow is being used for building raised beds [or another activity that involves just the shifting / throwing of “loose” soil, such as power ridging / hilling], then the distance between the wheels of the tractor is far less important.*

Video: Berta Rotary Plow in action (Italian factory-produced video)

Video: Berta Rotary plow in action–Full Demo at Earth Tools (breaking sod, building raised beds)

Video: Setup of a new Rotary Plow (single version)

Berta single rotary plow (same as BCS “Groundblaster”

  • Item AR.D4-B fits BCS 732 - 853, 750
  • Item AR.D4-G fits Grillo G85 (9.5 hp) - G110
  • Item AR.D4-G131 fits Grillo G131 (implement weights may be required for proper balance)
  • Requires 5x10x20” wheels or larger (this may be larger-than-standard wheels on some tractor models)
  • May require axle extensions for proper wheel spacing (see above)
  • MSRP: $1999 $1700

Berta reversible (swivel version) rotary plow

  • Item ARV-B fits BCS 732 - 853, 750
  • Item ARV-G fits Grillo G85(9 hp) - G110
  • Item ARV-G131 fits Grillo G131
  • Requires 5x10x20” wheels or larger (this may be larger-than-standard wheels on some tractor models)
  • May require axle extensions for proper wheel spacing (see above)
  • The Heavy weight of this implement will require counter-balance weights for engine, for proper handling of tractor
  • MSRP: $3099 $2600