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Ploughing advice

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alexeir
Join Date: Aug 2007
Posts: 7 vt
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2007-09-08          145523


Howdy,

Just got a Kubota b7610 which we want to use to plough a field to plant food crops. Also got a taylor-way roto tiller. The field has never been planted so there is a lot of sod. Should I be using some kind of plough before rototilling to prepare the soil. If so, what would be the best variety of plough for the job?


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earthwrks
Join Date: Dec 2003
Posts: 3853 Home Office in Flat Rock, Michigan
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2007-09-08          145524


Why would you want to plow AND rototill? Seems like you'd do one or the other. I would only rototill, but you will likely have to wait a few days then do it again as the sod may want to take root again. Do yourelf a favor and mow the sod as short as you can before you till or plow to turn it into mulch to get a head start on decomposition.

Growing up on a small farm, we never plowed--only disked it then used a homemade drag made of 4' angle iron in the shape of a square to smooth it. ....

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hardwood
Join Date: Dec 2002
Posts: 3583 iowa
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2007-09-08          145525


Alexeir; Knowing where you are located would make it somewhat easier to give advice. Is the soil being prepared to plant a crop now, or is it being fall worked to plant spring crops? If you are fall working it for spring crops your best bet would be a mouldboard plow seven or eight inches deep to turn under the topgrowth and allow it to rot over winter, then your roto tiller will work fine the spring. Roto tillers and live roots/heavy topgrowth just don't work at all, you will be plugged up almost immeadiately. If you are wanting to seed this fall your best method would be to spray the top growth with Roundup, then give it a good two weeks to completely kill the root systems then if possible burn it off. A roto tiller will handle some dead roots, but not to many, so liely a disk or even the moldboard plow may be your best bet ahead of the roto tiller. Frank. ....

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alexeir
Join Date: Aug 2007
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2007-09-08          145526


Thanks for your responses.

Being new to this, I initially thought all I would need is a rototiller, but am having second thoughts after doing some reading and am now wondering if the moldboard type plow is a better option for getting down deep and turning over soil. But from earthwrks response, it sounds like the tiller can get the job done just as well? What's the difference between ploughing and "disking" it?

I'm in Vermont and we've got a lot of clay in the soil. We are going to put in a cover crop now until we plant garlic later this fall. Also want to prepare fields for other crops in the spring. ....

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hardwood
Join Date: Dec 2002
Posts: 3583 iowa
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2007-09-09          145530


Alexier; EW is correct a tiller will work fine "IF" there isn't too much trash or roots to plug it up. A mouldboard plow turns the trash and roots under to leave a fairly trash free surface. A roto tiller trys to mix whatever is on the surface with the tilled soil and leave the trash and roots on or near the surface. No disk will match a mouldboard plow when it comes to turning under trash. The plow will do the job in one pass and a disk will take lots of passes and never really eliminate the trash. A disk has a bad reputation for creating soil compaction, so another reason to not overdo it with a disk, one pass only, or two at the most in any situation. What type of seedbed is needed for planting garlic? If you need a clean trash free surface I'd suggest a moldboard plow followed by a disk to level it out. Please don't do either operation when the soil is too wet or all you will have is clods. If you haven't bought the tiller yet, maybe wait till you see if you really need one. Nothing tops a tiller far as making a superfine seedbed, but they are pittifly slow compared to a mouldboard plow, plus rocks and roots give them a hard time. Best of luck with the soil preparation, and maybe fill us in on garlic production, do you plant bulbs in the fall for spring harvest? Frank. ....

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candoarms
Join Date: Mar 2007
Posts: 1932 North Dakota
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2007-09-09          145533


Alexeir,

I've read the replies under this topic, and I generally agree with the others who've responded to you.

Tillers are generally used for garden work, where a very small amount of land is being worked up. They aren't suitable for covering anything over an acre, due to the slow pace involved.

I believe you'll need a plow, disk, and cultivator. These implements will cover a tremendous amount of land in a much shorter amount of time.

You'll need to get rid of the surface vegetation as much as possible, before doing anything else. Mowing -- or spraying with herbicides, such as Roundup -- will do the job well. (If you have a lot of rocks on the land, use herbicides first. You'll then be able to see and pick any rocks that may damage a mower.)

After you've removed the surface vegetation, you can then hit the land with a plow. This will turn the soil over and create a deep root path for your garlic plants. It will also expose any rocks that you missed earlier.

Once you've plowed up the land, you should then disk it. This will create a fairly level piece of nicely tilled soil for your crop.

For final seed bed preparation, I highly recommend a cultivator just prior to planting, as this will loosen the soil and destroy any weeds that haven't yet emerged.

You will also be able to modify your cultivator, by adjusting the distance between the sweeps, so that you can control the weeds that emerge after planting. Of course, you'll have to plant your garlic in rows, spaced properly to allow your tractor to drive between them.

I don't know anything about planting garlic. Maybe you need to create a hill, or mound, for garlic beds.......I have no idea here. If so, a middle buster will help you create the mounds......and it does a great job of this. Just don't set it too deep, because you'll want nice, fine soil for your seed beds. If set too deep, you'll create a whole lot of heavy clumps.

And lastly, you'll want to do all of this work when the soil is moist, but not wet. Working wet soil will create a tremendous number of large and heavy dirt clods later, which are nearly impossible to plant in without first roto-tilling the entire piece of land.

A cultivator is a very useful tool after the soil has been broken up. This is one implement EVERY farmer has, and uses the most often.......but, it doesn't work well when there's heavy vegetation on the surface, as it will plug up with weeds after just a few feet.

Good luck with the garlic crop, and enjoy that new Kubota.

Joel ....

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Art White
Join Date: Jan 2000
Posts: 6881 Waterville New York
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2007-09-11          145632




I like a chisel type plow and a tiller. It allows for better root growth from the looser soil.

....

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kthompson
Join Date: Oct 2005
Posts: 5219 South Carolina
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2007-09-12          145638


Alexeir, not being the bad guy here but are you asking for use with the B7610? If so don't think you will find some of those choices given to be an option. It just does not have the power, sorry. I would suggest you see if you can hire a local farmer to plow or disk the ground for you to such condition you can use your tiller. Even if you had the power this might be the best option to buying a piece of equipment. You may find a sprayer to be a needed piece of equipement. Then you still have to watch the size due to tractor size. Am sure a 50 or 55 gallon sprayer is your limit on the 3 pt hitch. Larger if trailer type.

Hardwood, why does a disk give you more compaction than any other type of implement? Is it due to running at same or nearly same depth? Is it due to not running it as deep as moldboard plows normally are? Is it due to the weight of the tractor just running over and over the field? I believe my sprayer loaded gives me the most compaction due to all the weight. On my soil I have found subsoiling every 2 to 4 years handles my soil compaction problem. kt ....

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Art White
Join Date: Jan 2000
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2007-09-12          145640


A disk is the heaviest compactor known in tillage!!! Think about how much weight is on the edge of every cutting edge! It maybe is at the most 1/4 of an inch wide but yet often carrying 100lbs on it.

For the needs of the garlic the tiller would be fine. With the clay type soil a couple of shanks designed to penetrate up to 8" on a frame would more then likely take care of loosening the clay enough to allow better drainage.

Years ago working in some of that fine blue clay with a chisel plow that the fellow was having trouble pulling about dusk we noticed a glow from the shanks! Never seen it since but we know it was tough pulling and everything was working hard. Unless you start opening it up it will stay just as tight and hard as it is. ....

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candoarms
Join Date: Mar 2007
Posts: 1932 North Dakota
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2007-09-12          145641


KThompson,

A disk is a soil compactor. On top of the fact that it's a very heavy implement, It doesn't cut very deep, which makes the tractor's tire tracks very hard. Its purpose is to handle any weeds and vines that would easily plug up any other implement, since it rolls over and cuts the vegetation, rather than dragging through.

A disk should only be used when heavy weeds and vines prevent the use of any other implement.

It does a great job on corn stalks, sunflower stalks --- and for breaking up beans, cucumber plants, watermelon, squash, and other vine-type plants.

The disk is not intended to be used in seed bed preparation. It simply doesn't cut deep enough, and it causes soil compaction.

Other implements are designed for seed bed prep work. The roto-tiller might be the best, but it is designed only for smaller acreages. Larger acreages are best handled with a cultivator and harrow.

The B7610 will easily pull a 6 foot cultivator with a harrow behind. The harrow will break up any dirt clumps left by the cultivator. For any piece of ground larger than an acre or two, the cultivator is preferred over the tiller......simply because it covers much more ground in far less time.

Joel ....

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kthompson
Join Date: Oct 2005
Posts: 5219 South Carolina
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2007-09-12          145643


I know where I now live that dirt had been only disk for years by person who was farming it. When I went to subsoil it using 34 hp per shank there was such a hard pan at times could not pull it at depth to shatter the pan (about 20 inches). Don't think I doubt the compaction of the disk, just never given reason for it. Been told worst is confined cows.

Joel, what design is the cultivator you are using? I know what we call cultivator here used for cultivating would not handle unbroken dirt. They also would not handle the roots or vegation. What is called a "field" cultivator may but is sold saying the land must be first disk and they are only to be used to prepare loose smooth land for planting. Of course different types of dirt will vary that. Have some sandy soil I could run either through with nothing before them. Heavier dirt, have broken parts to prove that is a no go. kt ....

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candoarms
Join Date: Mar 2007
Posts: 1932 North Dakota
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2007-09-12          145644


KThompson,

I have a standard, run-of-the-mill 3-point cultivator, much like the ones available at Northern Tool.......except that mine is somewhere close to 50 years old. It's nothing fancy, believe me.

I have reason to believe that my cultivator was cut down and made to fit a smaller tractor sometime in the past, as the welds on the ends are somewhat crude.

In the Spring of the year I use chisel points to get down into the soil and loosen it up. Prior to planting, I switch out the chisel points and go with sweeps.

The sweeps work well to remove any weeds, and to mound up the soil next to the corn, after it has emerged. They also work well to loosen the soil in my tire tracks, so that weeds don't come up in the slightly compacted soil left by my tractor's tires.

The "S" shaped tines on my cultivator work very well to kick out any rocks I hit. The rocks, just fly out of the soil and roll along on top of the ground, making them easy to find when I go to pick them later.

See Northern Tool Part# 256105 (3pt cultivator)

And for the sweeps to replace the chisel points, see Tractor Supply Part# 1016656

These two items may not be compatible with each other, but this will give you some idea of what I use.

One of these days I'll have to buy a camera so that I can post a few pictures here.

Joel ....


Link:   Cultivator and Sweeps

 
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Murf
Join Date: Dec 1999
Posts: 7147 Toronto Area, Ontario, Canada
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2007-09-12          145645


I somehow missed this thread, a lot of good info. here, but a few misconceptions too.

I'm not exactly a garlic expert, but we do grow a bit of it in rotation with the potatoes and onions we also grow.

Garlic likes well-drained rich sandy or sandy loam soils. If you have thin sandy soil, it can be heavily amended with well composted manure and it will do just fine. It won't tolerate wet clay soil, if you get anything it won't be much at all.

If the land hasn't been worked, a good chisel plow down 18" will break up the soil and help with drainage.

Garlic sucks nitrogen out of the soil like theres no tomorrow, we routinely put it down at a rate of 100 pounds per acre.

Although it can be done faster, you generally need a seasons head start if you want to plant garlic in the fall, you should start prepping the land no later than that summer, a cover crop of Buckwheat which can be plowed under for green compost is a good way to do it.

Best of luck. ....

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kthompson
Join Date: Oct 2005
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2007-09-12          145646


Candoarms, the cultivator at Northern is also the style called a "Field Cultivator" here. Local company who makes them says they are only designed for about 4 inches of depth. The dealer I bought from told me the first time he used one (different brand) was to plow up field of bermuda grass and it bent the frame into a "v". Many farmers here use them as final pass in the field before planters. In any established grass here with thick root system it is worthless. Great on small weeds.

How deep are you able to plow with them? Type of cultivator used here in crops is going to be fixed shank style, link below showing them. Those will not handle unbroken dirt but then I have never know of anyone to use chisel plows on them. They are used greatly for bedding and cultivating here and have been for years. Then this is tobacco country and really still is. Want wide rows and big beds.

There is a design sort of a mix of these two that use large springs on the shanks so they can trip, working sort of like the flied cultivator. Some companies call them chisel plows. Farmers call them new ground (due to stumps) cultivators.

For most acres of grain planted here, it is disk once or twice and plant. Planters are not running any cultivators on them other than row openers. Then round up and combine. For tobacco totally different. This is why I keep saying, ask a local farmer. Land, seasons and such varies so much. kt ....


Link:   fixed shank cultivator

 
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candoarms
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2007-09-12          145650


KThompson,

Breaking up virgin sod is no picnic. It's a tough job, even with modern equipment.

The chisel plow won't break up hard or deep sod very well. Several passes will have to be made, going in different directions with each pass, before any progress will be made. It's a slow process.

On the first pass with the chisel plow, it will seem as though the soil will never get broken up. After a few trips across the sod, however, things begin to take shape.

I don't use a chisel plow for breaking up virgin sod, but it can be done with the right tractor. It takes a lot of muscle and weight to do this. No compact tractor would handle this job.

If the chisel plow is bent in two while doing this, it's because the tractor was too powerful for the implement, or the implement was set far too deep for the first pass. Breaking up virgin sod is a project that requires time and patience.......a few inches at a time.

I much prefer a moldboard plow to a chisel plow for this work.

I use a chisel plow AFTER the sod has been rolled over. A disk will also work for this.

In following years, the chisel plow will loosen the soil to the proper depth. A moldboard plow is not required very often.......maybe once every ten years.

A disk should only be used when the vegetation is so thick that any dragging type implement will quickly plug up with weeds. A disk, by design, rolls over and cuts the heavy vegetation, rather than simply dragging through it. A disk WORKS WONDERS on freshly plowed sod. A disk is not meant to be used as a seed bed prep tool, however. It doesn't cut deep enough for that job. Most plants require a deeper root structure than a disk can provide for.

But, as the old saying goes, "We do things different round here." There are tricks and techniques that have been adapted to the various land conditions all over this country. They don't do nothin the same way everywhere.



Joel ....

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kthompson
Join Date: Oct 2005
Posts: 5219 South Carolina
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2007-09-18          145841


Joel,

"They don't do nothin the same way everywhere."


Well maybe one or two things we probably all do the same. kt ....

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alexeir
Join Date: Aug 2007
Posts: 7 vt
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2007-09-29          146274


Well,

Thanks for all the advice and thoughts on plowing. Seems like there's a lot of interest out there.
After careful consideration, I think I'm going to go for a 14" shank type chisel plow to get the deep tillage that the roto-tiller missed. Sounds like my HP can only handle 1 shank.

We're putting the Garlic in beds next month in an area that had lots of chickens the past few years. All the other fields have winter rye for now.



....

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brokenarrow
Join Date: Jan 2004
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2007-12-03          148947


Alexier
I live and die food plotting (Look at my pics 17 16. Buy a generic round up! glysophate of 41%. Use it for two reasons. It will kill the roots holding everything together and more importantly will start your process of a weed free plot which will allow your crop the best chance to get all the water a nutriant. Its a small price to pay for the reults. Infact, spray once, let it work and then plow/till. Prepaire your bed almost all the way to where you want it. Let the new weed seed germinate and spray again. Now your ready to distibute your seed and gently cover trying to disturb as little new soil underneath as possible while still getting good seed to soil contack (or the depth needed for larger seed).
....

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TumbaDowns
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2009-04-22          162224


disc ploughing should only be used as the 1st cut on a new paadock, i have a 22 disc one way plough, continually making left hand turns while ploughing up a paddock, the only thing i have that will pull the heavy thing is an old dozer, which is fine because the ground pressure of the dozer tracks is far less then that of my small tractor, after the initial soil breaking with the big plough i then swap for a set of 16 disc offsets which i work the paddock in one direction (up and down the paddock,)then change direction across the paddock, once thats done i put a set of scarifiers (chisels) on the 3pt and run diagonal cross pattern then run the offset disc again in the direction i 1st started them finally i us a set of harrows to break up any big sods of soil left, it takes about a week to go from 50acres of grazing pasture to ready to plant paddock for Barely or oats, it is in heavy black clay soil call Brigalow or melon hole country ....

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BoonvilleKid
Join Date: Feb 2011
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2011-02-14          176874


If there is one tool that will produce a layer of compacted soil, it's the tiller. If you want to see evidence of this, take your shovel and remove all of the loose, tilled soil over a 3' X 3' area behind the tiller. You'll find a "table" of hard, compacted soil. The PTO tiller will produce this "table" much harder than a walking tiller because of the extra power. This "table" is the result of the flat portion of the tiller blade pressing downward on the soil beneath as the blade makes its circular spin to break up the soil above. The agricultural disc will not produce a "table" like that, but over the years it will produce a compacted layer below the depth that the disc has been set to operate at. When I was a kid on the farm, my Dad removed this hardened layer by setting the moldboard plow at a deeper depth every three years. ....

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