Cultipacker vs Drag Harrow

Jerry D

What's the advantages to a culitpacker?

I've always used a drag harrow. Mine is rigid metal with 3" spikes on one side and then about 1/2" knobs on the other.

Use the 3" spike side for big seeds and flip over for small seed.

I've always though the harrow worked well.
A cultipacker will press the seed into the soil, while firming the seed bed, without excessive compaction. It will also help with erosion and breaking up any big dirt clods. You might get better germination with a cultipacker vs a drag harrow, but a drag harrow is good equipment too.
We drug a piece of chain link behind our disc for years and it worked fine. Now we have two cultipackers and see levels of germination that we never saw before. It also makes the plot a lot smoother for spreading N later in the season and mowing in the spring.
When the soil is not powder dry, a cultipacker will seal the top layer to some extent. There's normally some moisture rising to the top from the subsoil and the texture left behind by the cultipacker stops alot of the moisture from escaping into the air. That holds a lot more moisture just under the surface........right where the seed are. Much better germination in plowed ground in dry conditions with a cultipacker. It also firms the soil underneath the seed so when the root forms and pushes the top up thru the top layer of soil the seed has enough footing (for lack of a better word) to make the top break thru to the sunshine.
Another thing
When using a drag harrow with some plant material on top of the soil, the drag tends to roll up the material. Then you are left with humps in the field. A cultipacker pushes plant material into the soil where it lays leaving a smooth surface to plant or drill into.
Hope this helps:D
Both will typically result in decent to good germination, but the cultipacker has the weight and design to do things the drag harrow cannot. Most notably, on plots with any slope at all, a cultipacker will quite literally "pack" the soil, while also creating distinct rows that cause water to collect and soak in, rather than run off. You reduce the risk of soil erosion while also helping with moisture retention, both of which result in much better germination and plant growth, on sloped ground. A cultipacker is also much more effective at smoothing out ground that has been disced or tilled, compressing it to remove larger pockets of air, leaving a much better seed bed.

If you are using a no-till, throw-n-mow approach, on level ground, the drag harrow might be just as good as a cultipacker.
I've got a heavy duty drag harrow. Not sure how much it weights but it's a bunch. Has 4 inch steel spikes on one side. If I had a do over I'd get a cultipacker. Drag harrow clumps up dead foliage in the field and is a pain to move around since it has to be dragged everywhere. Don't use it much anymore.
If i had to pick one, drag. I do not till or disc, the drag is the only way I break the soils surface due to lots of stumps. Big seed I will drag before and make a couple passes after spreading to get it covered. Small seed I only make one pass to cover, or use my homemade cultipacker instead of dragging after seeding. If no rain is forecast, cultipacker helps bury the seed where birds dont eat it and get a little better germination I believe.
Last year I picked up a double roll cultipacker. I use it to roll before and after planting radish-turnip seeds.
I made a drag this year out of a commercial shelving screen. I use the drag to cover my oats.
Both do a great job.
I've used a homemade tire drag for years. Even have one for every property because you can't move them easily. This year though, I finally sprung for a new cultipacker on a three point hitch. I've only used it a few times, but I'm sold on the advantages it offers.
I use a 50' roll of chain link fence to use as a drag when I need it. The roll works well because the footprint has more weight than if you unrolled it. Don't use much anymore because I don't disc anymore. Throw and mow is where its at.