Celli Pioneer 170 spike rotor

The three-metre Celli Pioneer 170 spike rotor works effectively in any condition

  • High quality build and finish
  • Direct side drive for maximum power to the blades
  • Excellent soil flow
  • Hardened steel blades durable
  • Adjustable rear doors for finer seed bed
  • Heavy packer roller locks in the moisture

My test machine was a three-metre Celli Pioneer 170 spike rotor, supplied by Farm Gard, and driving the machine was a John Deere 6620 tractor supplied by Fieldpower Northland.

A spike rotor rotates in the same fashion as a rotary hoe (without the risk of creating a pan) but produces the finish of a power harrow, with the ability to go straight in to a sprayed out paddock without the need for ploughing or discing first.

Machine background

Spike rotors have been in New Zealand for around six years, and according to testimonials there are some very happy owners who have used them in different applications in a variety of soil conditions. During this time there have been a few modifications, the main one being the shape of the bottom part of the machine has been re-designed to make the soil flow during work easier, due to the high clearance between the blades and the bottom of the frame. This reduces soil build-up in wet conditions and the horsepower consumption has been decreased.

Machine design

The rotor moves in an anti-clockwise direction (pushing the tractor forward) in the same fashion as a rotary hoe. The flanges (blades) are evenly spaced along the three-metre rotor and look like little cricket bats positioned sporadically to achieve the best possible finish.

Machine quality

The spike rotor felt relatively heavy on the back of the 125hp tractor and front weights would definitely be a must in this area (especially if working on hill country), but this is a reflection of the build quality of the machine. The rotorshafts and spike are made using special hard wearing steel. The gearbox is designed and built by Celli itself, and the thick rear covers have the option of either two or four adjustable doors.

My favourite two parts of the machine are the hard spikes and very effective bearing seal.

The test

The test was carried out on a baron subdivision block in an industrial area of Whangarei where the soil would be considered challenging.

My first impression from the cab was that it wasn’t quite the one-pass machine that I had been promised, although this could have been the challenging conditions having not been sprayed out, and the fact I was expecting to hop out to find no blades left on the machine after driving over some cricket-sized rocks and gravel. Upon closer inspection the machine had actually done a sterling job of burring all the rocks and rubble (without the loss of a single blade) to create a nice fluffy seed bed in one pass, however, doing two or three passes makes a considerably tidier job.

I was also very impressed with how easy it was to drive and I got up to over 8km/h and still could not bury the tractor, however I would recommend around 2-3km/h for the best one-pass finish.

Benefits over a power harrow

  • Lower power requirement due to the rotor moving in a forward direction therefore pushing the tractor along as it works
  • Blade design and strength allows you to work in harder conditions as it will ride over rocks rather than try to break them up
  • Adjust rear doors to create a finer seed bed

Benefits over a rotary hoe

  • Blades are not evenly spaced, which dramatically reduces the risk of a pan build-up
  • Spiker rotor can be used in a greater range of soil conditions

The verdict

If you are in the market for a well built machine that will bury crop residues, work in a large range of conditions including rocky soil, and produce a fine seedbed, then a Celli spike rotor should definitely be in your short list.

Read in-depth farm machinery reviews in the latest issue of Farm Trader magazine, on sale now.

See a range of used Celli equipment for sale.


  • Gear side drive
  • 1000rpm PTO
  • Two-speed gearbox
  • Drive shaft with safety clutch
  • Swinging lower linkages, which accommodates either CAT II or III
  • Two-door tailgate adjustment by threaded bar
  • Rubber tyre packer roller

Optional extras include

  • Four-speed gearbox – 540rpm
  • Rear PTO
  • Front sod breaking discs
  • Soil loosening tines
  • Rear roller (cage, spikes, or packer)
  • Hydraulic adjustment for rear roller
  • Hydraulic kit for tailgate adjustment
  • Oil cooler for the gearbox with radiator
  • Rear steel wheels


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