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Berta Rotary Plow (GroundBlaster)
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.
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!”
We carry two versions of the Rotary 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.*