Rotary tillers (aka rotavators, power tillers, rotary ploughs, rototillers or rotary hoes) are motorized cultivators. They are used by farmers to work the soil. Some rotary tillers are self-propelled, while some have to be hitched to tractors.

Two-wheel tractors connect tillers rigidly to their transmission using couplings that simultaneously power the tillers. Four wheel-tractors use a three-point hitch system and are powered using Power Take-Offs. A power take-off is used to provide power to an attachment.

Power take-offs are designed to be attached and detached easily and they allow the rotary tiller to draw energy from the engine of the tractor. Power take-offs are also often used in marine and industrial engines. However, these power take-offs are semi-permanently mounted on their correspondent engines.


3 point tillers are made of 3 arms. The 3 point hitch system was patented by innovator Harry Ferguson in Britain in the year 1926. He did not invent the device but realized the importance of rigid attachments for the plough to the tractor. He also improved on the 3 point tiller by making the system more effective and desirable for mass produced tractors.

During the late 1910s, Harry Ferguson developed his innovations of the 3 point hitch system through much iteration before he arrived at his patented form. He sold his ideas and hitches to various tractor manufacturers.

The primary benefit of three point hitch systems is that their weight and resistance is transferred to the tractor’s wheels. Their simplicity has made them into an industry standard. They are made of several components including the tractor’s hydraulic system, lifting arms, stabilizers, and attaching points.

The design of the linkage that attaches the plough to the tractor allows for any force generated by the plough to be redirected to the tractor’s wheels. This makes for lighter and more maneuverable tractors than earlier farm tractors.

Harry Ferguson and his colleagues many innovations made the system desirable to Henry Ford in 1938. The first American three point tiller Ford-Ferguson 9N was mass produced in 1939.

Previous to the 1960s, all tractor manufacturers used their own system to hitch tillers to their tractors. Most farmers used two-point hitch system to connect implements. This was a clumsy process. During the 1960s, manufacturers agreed on the three-point tiller as the standard system. This was probably due to the fact that Harry Ferguson’s patents were running out.


3 point tillers are useful for home landscaping, gardens, nurseries and farms. They are used to pulverize soil and stir it. This is done before farmers plant their crops so that the soil is aired and to prepare a loose seedbed. They can also be used to kill weeds after crops start growing.

They are unlike harrows, which disturb all the soil. Tillers disturb the soil in patterns and spare the crop plants while disrupting weeds. Hydraulically controlled three point hitch systems moderate the depth of the tiller and prevent tractors from flipping backward.

Rotary tillers are popular with home gardeners who aim for large vegetable gardens. Examples of popular rotary tillers are the Rototiller, Rotavator and the Mini Tiller. Commercially, field cultivators are used for tillage of crop fields.