Best implement for 1/2 acre plot

rgOO6

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Kubota L2501DT
Sep 12, 2021
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Villa Rica, GA
Hello all,
I have been doing some research on the best impliment for my area. I think I have settled on a disc harrow for my L2501. Would anyone recommend anything else? What size should I be looking at?

I have a 1/2 acre that has not been planted in about 100 years. I had the trees cleared/uprooted. The area used to be wooded. I live about a mile from a rock quarry. Therefore, I have plenty of roots and rocks to clear. The roots are easily broken with the box scrapper. Most rocks I can turn up as well. Rocks vary between the size of a golf ball to a Honda Civic tire. I only broke two teeth off the box scrapper on the whole field and will be remove the rocks to a new location. Only hit one rock I could not move.

Thank you!
Rick
 

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bird dogger

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A 3pt. mounted cultivator with spring tines would also work nice. It would/could penetrate a little deeper than the disc/harrow. For 1/2 acre something in the 5 to 6 foot width maybe?
 

ayak

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Have you got Ag tires on R4s or R14s? Plenty of power and weight with the 2501 but you’ll at times wish you had the R1 Ag tires if you go too heavy with whatever you do get.
Have a look at your manual since it will give you recommendations on sizing implements for the 2501.
 

BigG

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What is your plan for the plot? Garden or hunting? I am sure there is still a good crop of rocks hidden in there. I would look for a used 3 point disk if you are going for food plot. Run it with a chain for the top link at first until the number of rocks are reduced. If you are doing garden I would go with a used disk which after several trips over the area I would spend the money for a tiller after a year or two.

A 5 foot disk would be about right.
 

rgOO6

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Kubota L2501DT
Sep 12, 2021
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Villa Rica, GA
To answer some questions above, I plan to have a garden with a few crop rotations. Not for hunting, just eating. I have R1 tires.

I do expect to continually turn up rocks over the first few years. I don’t think I will ever fully get all the rocks out, especially the ones smaller than a golf ball. So I am thinking a rotary tiller is probably no good unless I figure out a way to strain the small rocks out next year.

I will look into the disc harrow and spring cultivator. Thank you all!
 

GreensvilleJay

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BX23-S
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BTDT, for 2+ decades, several 1/4-1 acre veggie gardens....
what I've used
1) subsoiler - to breakup the hardpan,get water,air 'down below',wait for a week or two
2) 3 furrow plow - to turnover the soil, letting Mother Nature break it down,wait a week or 2
3) disc harrows - to 'chew up' the soil, 1st running N-S, then E-W,wait a week or two
4) 5' rototiler - to pulverize the soil,1st running N-S, then E-W
How long you really wait depends on soil conditions and any rainfall, the ground needs to be 'friable'(dryish, breaks down) NOT wet or 'clumpy'.
Once the garden has 'tilth', I just plow in fall,spring, then rototill.

At the end of the garden season,plow,till, sow Winter rye(early October), plow under next Spring(early April).
Also, I add LOTS of compost,a mix of pony poop, pine shavings, mushroom compost, leaf compost, grass clippings, kitchen scraps, virgin drywall pieces but NO black Walnut material !!!! usually 4-5 tandem dump truck loads EVERY year, applied with Millcreek spreader, then tilled in, about 2-3 weeks before planting. You NEED to give back what you take from the earth. All the gardens grow beautiful long, perfect carrots, healthy peppers and LOTS of tomatoes. Those are my 'markers' for how good the soil is. If they're good, everything else is GREAT.
 
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rgOO6

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Kubota L2501DT
Sep 12, 2021
17
2
3
Villa Rica, GA
BTDT, for 2+ decades, several 1/4-1 acre veggie gardens....
what I've used...

Those are my 'markers' for how good the soil is. If they're good, everything else is GREAT.
So maybe this is a dumb question. When do you spend the money for a "nicer" implement verses just buying a cheaper one. My initial thought is that anything mechanical (PTO attached or hydraulic) should be nice so that it lasts a while, but anything really basic like the disc or subsoiler can probably be cheaper. For instance, I am looking at the CountyLine 5' disc harrow that can be bought at Tractor Supply for $1,400 new or I am looking at a used LandPrice DH1560 for $2,600 (then I need to pay shipping).

For the subsoiler, that looks basic enough to weld together with some heavy 1" thick plate. I was actually thinking about making a rock catcher anyway with two thick shanks and a basket on back to catch the rock as it comes up.

Any guidance on where to spend verses where not to?
Thank you!
Rick
 

GreensvilleJay

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I paid about $200 for the subsoiler, old but lightly used and it's Snap-Coupler, goes about 2 1/2' down. A real brute. In 'hardpan' it tests my D-14, 1st gear,low, but works very well.
I paid $75 for a pair(tandem ?) Fleury-Bissel(sp) drag discs. Maybe 35-40 + years old. Only used them 2-3 seasons, resold for a profit.
3F plow was 'free' with tractor, so 50 years old and in very good shape.
The 5' tiller was $1600, 2 years old, setup to 'skim' the surface, so it was a very good buy.
So everything was used, bought from local, small family farms.Once cleaned up and tweaked' all have performed as they should and will ,of course, outlive me. Of all the implements, the till is the one, that I'd say buy new or next to new.Gearboxes, chaindrives, tines... can be/are 'high wear' items so older ones may need $$ repairs. Plows generally just need cleaning,sharpening and adjusting...your labour, not your money. If reasonably handy you can make the subsoiler, trick is to get the angla of attack right, so it digs in ,goes deep. Mine looks like a question mark laying down...glides into the soil FAST and deep.
Check local papers/online ads for 'farm equipment', TALK to neighbours...ASK about 'old implements',something a young farmer can afford'show an interest in their farm, pay they're asking price ,or very close to it, show up in a pickup not a caddy......
Smaller sized equipment generally costs more..higher demand,tends to be in better shape as it's not used as much( 1 acre NOT 1000.....)
 
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jimh406

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Just remember everything you tear up, you have to level again. Most seeds only need to be about 1/4 - 1/2 inch deep. You can literally use almost anything including simple harrows to go that deep. Broadcast the seed and then run the harrow again to cover the seeds rocks or not.

It’s more important for you to have your soil tested and choose the right seed/plant types. Some will say you have kill all current vegetation with herbicides, but I haven’t found that to be the case.

Also, read up about NoTill. It’s old school to deep plow or till. But, it’s not necessary. One more thing, many weeds can live for many years. If you go deep, you will likely bring those to the surface to have them compete with your crop/food plot.
 

BigG

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l2501, FEL, BB, Rotary cutter, rake,spreader, roller, etc. New Holland TL80 A
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I would go with the TSC tiller. You need to find a way to keep it out of the weather. It will last you a lifetime with a 1/2 acre garden.
 

GreensvilleJay

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BX23-S
Apr 2, 2019
2,688
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Greensville,Ontario,Canada
re:
Also, read up about NoTill. It’s old school to deep plow or till. But, it’s not necessary.

Respectfully , I have to disagree. I've seen first hand what notill has done to the soils around here. 30-40 years of notill have resulted in deep 'hardpan', very compacted soil, almost ' pavement like'. Notill requires farmers to drive heavy machines to toss $$$ chemicals to make the 3 crops grow.
the 30AC litterally next door was a bear to run the subsoiler in. I had to use 1st gear, low range, full throttle to create a 1/3ac veggie garden, meanwhile I can run 2nd gear, high range,low throttle in the wife's veggie garden, which now has 2 1/2 to 3' of high quality, rich soil in it. It grows GREAT carrots ,1800# pumpkins and everything else in between meanwhile the notill garden was a total disaster.

BigG is right, keep the implements out of the weather, a shed is best but if you use tarps, raise them up high, to allow air flow to get rid of condensation . I paint the moldboards(light spraybomb) after using the plow, that way no rust and they shine upafter 20' in the soil.
 

jimh406

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Respectfully , I have to disagree. I've seen first hand what notill has done to the soils around here. 30-40 years of notill have resulted in deep 'hardpan', very compacted soil, almost ' pavement like'. Notill requires farmers to drive heavy machines to toss $$$ chemicals to make the 3 crops grow.
Of course, you can do any type of farming wrong. Notill method doesn’t compact soil and doesn’t require lots of chemicals.

My main point is that you need a plan and method that will work for you. If you want to till to plant, you can, but you certainly don’t have to.

More about the reasons to notil and the methods. https://www.nrcs.usda.gov/wps/portal/nrcs/mt/soils/health/stelprdb1261858/
 
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GreensvilleJay

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I can only go by what I've seen first hand and talking to local farmers, 3 of them are now investing their time and fuel to subsoil the fields they plant. Years of driving over the same spot with heavy equipment compacts the soil, anyone with a gravel driveway can see the 'two track ruts' they put in...
 
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Njtool

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Jan 1, 2021
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not an answer to your question, but....

wheh I have a job that’s rough, like mowing and unknown pasture etc, I use old equipment that I bought cheap. Then if I hit something bad, I’m not damaging nicer equipment. Once I know the area, I use my nicer, more efficient equipment.

And on another note. Adding soil is a necessity. If you have the room, find a tree company and get free wood chips. Leave them in a huge pile and let them compost. It will take a year or more, but it will be free and handy.
 

ctfjr

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A lot of good suggestions rg006. I would only add that when if you use a subsoiler be careful. Some of the potatoes we have here in CT that the glaciers were kind enough to deposit when they left are pretty hefty. If you are moving along with a subsoiler and find something substantial. . .
My EA subsoiler has a shear pin, jic. I went really slowly when I was trenching for my camera wires in the woods. Still found a couple of beauties that stopped the tractor cold. Never snapped a pin, only because I was creeping along.
I'm also a big fan of mulching in material. Our local Ag station was very helpful to be when I was planting my veggie gardens years ago and just recently with my new lawn. A soil analysis is a must.
 

Tornado

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May 7, 2019
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usa
rg006, I have some thoughts that I feel may be useful to you, because you are in the exact same boat I was in a year ago. I also use the exact same tractor, an L2501. I also now own both a disc harrow and a rototiller and have had experience using both in my garden, and in my initial application - wooded areas that had been cleared to plant grass seed. I used my tractor to essentially expand my yard by an acre or so. This required me to cut down a lot of trees, move all the logs, push all the tree tops into piles and burn, and then come back and grind all the stumps, harrow up the ground, and finally get grass seed planted. I did all of these tasks with the tractor, even the stump grinding with a PTO driven stump grinder. I am in Florida so I do not have the problem you do with big rocks in the ground, but in these wooded areas I was dealing with a lot of big roots, and of course once stumps were ground below the surface, I had to be aware because the rototiller could still catch them if going deep enough. Looking at your pictures there, with all those rocks, I would say a rototiller is not going to work well. Those are some big rocks in your pictures. You would beat a rototiller up trying to till in that if the rocks are that bad. I think a disc harrow is indeed the best option for you given the obstacles.

Given I knew id be dealing with rots and stuff I went first with a disc harrow. A coworker had one he sold me for little of nothing and it was nearly brand new. It was a Frontier DH1176. I had looked at the exact same tractor supply disc harrow you looked at. The Frontier harrow is a john deere brand, so it is green, but it is a much heavier duty disc harrow than the tractor supply option. Tractor supply disc harrows use angle iron framing, where more heavy duty options will be square tubular steel frame, which is much more rigid. This is the one consideration to make on a disc. The angle Iron may be a little flimsy, and its also not as heavy. The DH1176 I have is over 700lbs, and is 76 inches wide, so just over 6 feet. It is at the upper limit of what you would want to put on an L2501. Several on the forums here told me it was too big for the tractor, that I would struggle to pull it. Ive had no problems pulling it, though when it is fully berried and in its most aggressive angles it is a good load for the tractor. Running over roots or rocks with a disc is no big deal. It works great is these wooded areas to break the ground so I can get grass seed started.

So, if the disc works so well why did I go and also end up getting a rototiller? The disc will break ground just fine. You can 100% use it for gardening, and I have done so. You may have to take multiple passes but it will work. Where it falters for me was in my sandy soil, running a disc through it creates a lot of "trenches" and mounds, so its annoying sometimes to plant into it without first smoothing it back out. After dealing with this I just said I want a rototiller, so I went and got one. I got a 5 foot one, forward rotating, gear driven. This thing works beautifully in a garden, as expected. It leaves a nice level, fluffy bed. Nothing beats a rototiller for garden prep. My garden spot however is just straight sandy soil. No roots, no rocks. The rototiller also is a lot less strain on the tractor than pulling that big harrow. The choice in which tool I use now is 100% down to the ground I'm working in. If its rocks, roots, stumps, etc. you do not want to put a rototiller on it. It will just beat and bang and the slip clutch will just be slipping constantly.

Here is my little wood clearing setup, with the DH1176 Disc Harrow on the back:


 
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rgOO6

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Kubota L2501DT
Sep 12, 2021
17
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3
Villa Rica, GA
Thanks for all the comments. I will have to do some searching for used implements. Seems like friends and family purchases are the way to go. The few items I found online used are more expensive than they look like they are worth ($600 for a rusty disc harrow!). We have a few days of rain in Georgia so that will give me some time to do some used shopping.
 

BobInSD

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BTDT, for 2+ decades, several 1/4-1 acre veggie gardens....


At the end of the garden season,plow,till, sow Winter rye(early October), plow under next Spring(early April).
Also, I add LOTS of compost,a mix of pony poop, ...
When do you do each? Do you till that stuff in in the fall, before the winter wheat, or toss it on top in the spring before you till in the winter wheat? Or both?
 

GreensvilleJay

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BX23-S
Apr 2, 2019
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Greensville,Ontario,Canada
come spring, I plow over the winter rye, wait a week or so(let MN do her thing...),then rototill, wait a couple days, then spread the composts on, tilling it in that day. I usualy lay down 6" of compost at a time. LOTS of compost..one of those 'more is better' things !