a Howard 90" rotavator

Howard Rotavators: Arthur Clifford Howards Revolutionary Agricultural Invention

Arthur Clifford Howard, a visionary Australian engineer and inventor, revolutionized agriculture with his groundbreaking invention, the Howard Rotavator.

Born on March 6, 1896 in Australia. Howard grew up on a farm and witnessed the challenges of traditional plowing methods. His innovative solution transformed soil cultivation, paving the way for enhanced productivity in the agricultural industry.

Early Life and Inspiration

Arthur Clifford Howard, had a deep connection with farming. Growing up on a farm, he witnessed the labor-intensive and time-consuming nature of traditional plowing techniques. This firsthand experience ignited his passion to develop a more efficient and effective method for soil preparation.

The Birth of the Howard Rotavator

In the 1920s, Howard began experimenting with a revolutionary concept to improve soil cultivation. His goal was to create a machine that could break up the soil and prepare it for planting without requiring multiple passes or extensive manual labor. This led to the invention of the Howard Rotavator, a pioneering agricultural implement.

How the Howard Rotavator Works

The Howard Rotavator combines the functions of a rotary hoe and a cultivator. The machine features a series of horizontally rotating blades or tines. As the Rotavator moves forward, these blades dig into the soil, breaking it up and mixing in organic matter simultaneously. This process creates a fine seedbed, perfect for planting crops.

the blades of the rotavator
The blades of the rotavator

Impact on Agriculture

Arthur Howard’s invention brought about a revolution in agriculture. The Howard Rotavator enabled farmers to prepare their fields more efficiently and effectively, reducing the time and labor required for soil cultivation.

This newfound productivity helped modernize farming practices and increase crop yields, addressing the growing demand for food worldwide.

The Howard Rotaspike

The spikes of a Howard Rotaspike

The Rotospike offers specific benefits and capabilities that the Rotavator does not provide. Here are some things that the Rotospike can do which the Rotavator cannot:

  1. Enhanced Soil Aeration: The Rotospike excels at improving soil aeration by creating vertical channels or perforations in the soil. This helps in reducing soil compaction and facilitating better airflow to plant roots. Improved soil aeration can have significant benefits for root growth, nutrient uptake, and overall plant health.
  2. Deeper Penetration: The vertical spikes of the Rotospike can penetrate the soil to greater depths compared to the horizontal blades of the Rotavator. This is particularly advantageous when dealing with compacted or hard soils that require deep tillage to break up soil layers and promote root penetration.
  3. Water Infiltration Management: The channels created by the Rotospike’s spikes enhance water infiltration into the soil. This can be beneficial in areas with poor water drainage or in situations where there is a need to optimize water management and prevent waterlogging.
  4. Targeted Soil Improvement: The Rotospike can be used for targeted soil improvement in specific areas of the field. If certain portions of the field have more severe compaction or require focused attention for soil aeration, the Rotospike can be employed selectively in those areas, while the Rotavator can be used for general soil preparation across the entire field.
  5. Soil Renovation and Remediation: In situations where there is a need for soil renovation or remediation, such as improving the quality of degraded or heavily compacted soil, the Rotospike can play a valuable role. Its ability to create perforations and break up compacted layers helps initiate the process of restoring soil health and structure.

It’s important to note that while the Rotospike offers these specific advantages, the Rotavator remains a versatile and widely used tool for general soil preparation, seedbed creation, and crop cultivation. Depending on the specific requirements of your farming operation, a combination of both the Rotavator and the Rotospike may provide comprehensive soil management solutions.

When Was The Rotaspike Invented?

The Rotospike was invented after the Rotavator. The Rotavator, invented by Arthur Clifford Howard, was introduced in the 1920s as a pioneering agricultural implement that revolutionized soil cultivation practices. It combined the functions of a rotary hoe and a cultivator, enabling efficient soil preparation for planting.

The Rotospike was developed as an extension of the Rotavator to address specific needs related to soil aeration and water infiltration. It was designed to enhance the capabilities of the Rotavator by creating vertical channels in the soil for improved air circulation and water movement.

The Rotospike provided farmers with a tool dedicated to soil aeration and targeted soil improvement, offering additional benefits beyond what the Rotavator could accomplish on its own.

Therefore, the Rotavator predates the Rotospike in terms of its invention and introduction to the agricultural industry.

Establishing the Howard Auto Cultivator Company

To manufacture and distribute his innovative invention, Howard founded the Howard Auto Cultivator Company in 1922.

The company gained widespread recognition and popularity, becoming a prominent player in the agricultural machinery industry. Farmers around the world embraced the Howard Rotavator, recognizing its significant contribution to agricultural productivity.

Continuous Refinement and Legacy

Throughout his lifetime, Arthur Howard dedicated himself to refining and improving the Rotavator.

He introduced numerous models and variations over the years, staying committed to enhancing its performance and versatility.

Howard’s tireless efforts left a lasting legacy, with the Howard Rotavator remaining an iconic agricultural implement.


Arthur Clifford Howard’s invention, the Howard Rotavator, forever transformed the field of agriculture. His innovative approach to soil cultivation revolutionized farming practices and improved productivity worldwide. Today, his legacy lives on, as the Howard Rotavator continues to play a vital role in modern agriculture, empowering farmers to efficiently prepare their fields and meet the demands of a growing population.