Disc Harrow or Rototiller?

tbk5

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Sep 24, 2013
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Central AL
A friend is planning a garden plot for the spring. It will be about 4 acres. It is a mostly level grassy field. He has a Kubota L3301 and a box blade and brush cutter. He asked me what implement he should get to till the soil-- a disc harrow, a rototiller or something else. I know nothing about this so I thought I would ask the OTT brain trust. Any advice is appreciated.
 

Elliott in GA

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You might want to denote the type of soil; it will probably make a difference.
 
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tbk5

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Thanks. See-I know nothing about this. 😬 It's central AL. It' mostly red clay once you get past the top soil. At my place, I have 3-5 inches of top soil then red clay. I'll ask him.
 

tbk5

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He says the soil is crappy--mostly clay with a few inches of hard loom.
 

rc51stierhoff

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What planning to do with the grass on top of the 4 acres? How deep wanting to loosen the soil? Without understanding the soil, it’s sort of hard to say…if it’s a clay soil then there may need to be more consideration how to loosen up and turn over so nutrients can get down in….If the land has only been grass or pasture for a while…be interesting what you turn up (maybe after you till, wait for a rain and walk it over and see what you find)…if wanting to turn the soil over may need a plow and then a disc…or use a tiller (tiller does it all in one shot). I think a tiller would be a bit slower but would prepare a much looser soil….4 acres seems like a pretty big garden. If using some tools / equipment for planting that might factor in as well how to prepare the soil. Good luck.
 

jyoutz

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Jan 14, 2019
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A disc harrow is designed to be used after deeper plowing. So the choice should be between a plow and disc combination or a subsoiler and tiller combination. Over time, a tiller will create a hard pan and need some subsoiling to break that up. If the choice were mine, I’d go the tiller and subsoiler route. A 3301 isn’t going to pull a heavy enough disc to do a good job on deeply working crappy soil.
 

Outnumbered

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Oct 26, 2019
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Moseley, VA
A disc harrow is designed to be used after deeper plowing. So the choice should be between a plow and disc combination or a subsoiler and tiller combination. Over time, a tiller will create a hard pan and need some subsoiling to break that up. If the choice were mine, I’d go the tiller and subsoiler route. A 3301 isn’t going to pull a heavy enough disc to do a good job on deeply working crappy soil.
Jyoutz hit the nail on the head. I have some good old Virginia red clay and use the tiller on my 3901 to turn under and prepare my garden space. I have added leaves and goat manure to my garden for years and now the soil is much better. I use the subsoiler every other year or so as the tiller will eventually create a hard layer and not drain well and limits the root depth of my veggies.
 
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forky

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I had the same project here with the field that is heavy clay soil. It worked really well to use the box blade first with the shanks set on the first cutting depth. It removed all the tall grass and scored the surface enough for the tiller to do an excellent job without the tines getting all wound up in tall grass. Twice over with the tiller after the box scraper broke the surface and it was ready for planting. I did take my time and allowed the equipment to do its job.
 
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tbk5

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Sep 24, 2013
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Central AL
A disc harrow is designed to be used after deeper plowing. So the choice should be between a plow and disc combination or a subsoiler and tiller combination. Over time, a tiller will create a hard pan and need some subsoiling to break that up. If the choice were mine, I’d go the tiller and subsoiler route. A 3301 isn’t going to pull a heavy enough disc to do a good job on deeply working crappy soil.
That is what I was thinking.
 

JasonW

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Jan 29, 2015
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Al
4 acres is a good sized garden. Could always spray the field to kill off vegetation first. You will be fighting the grass trying to grow back. There is a wait period before planting if you use round up.
Where are you in central Al? I’m near Mobile. I just helped a family member build a new garden about 2.5-3 acres. It had to be cleared of small trees but it took a Cat 416 backhoe, Deere 650 dozer, and a M series Kubota.
I’ve got a 3 bottom plow, 8’ disc, 6’ tiller and a 50hp Kubota if your close enough.
 

tbk5

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L3710, L3010, ZD1211, RTV900xt, GR2100, lots of 3pt equipment
Sep 24, 2013
166
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Central AL
I had the same project here with the field that is heavy clay soil. It worked really well to use the box blade first with the shanks set on the first cutting depth. It removed all the tall grass and scored the surface enough for the tiller to do an excellent job without the tines getting all wound up in tall grass. Twice over with the tiller after the box scraper broke the surface and it was ready for planting. I did take my time and allowed the equipment to do its job.
Holy cow. That was my suggestion. When I prepared a riding ring for my wife, I used the box blade with a shortened top link. The aggressive angle of the shanks dig a great job breaking up the soil.
What planning to do with the grass on top of the 4 acres? How deep wanting to loosen the soil? Without understanding the soil, it’s sort of hard to say…if it’s a clay soil then there may need to be more consideration how to loosen up and turn over so nutrients can get down in….If the land has only been grass or pasture for a while…be interesting what you turn up (maybe after you till, wait for a rain and walk it over and see what you find)…if wanting to turn the soil over may need a plow and then a disc…or use a tiller (tiller does it all in one shot). I think a tiller would be a bit slower but would prepare a much looser soil….4 acres seems like a pretty big garden. If using some tools / equipment for planting that might factor in as well how to prepare the soil. Good luck.
He bought a 40 acre lot. I think they plan to be as self sustaining as possible.
 
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tbk5

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L3710, L3010, ZD1211, RTV900xt, GR2100, lots of 3pt equipment
Sep 24, 2013
166
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Central AL
4 acres is a good sized garden. Could always spray the field to kill off vegetation first. You will be fighting the grass trying to grow back. There is a wait period before planting if you use round up.
Where are you in central Al? I’m near Mobile. I just helped a family member build a new garden about 2.5-3 acres. It had to be cleared of small trees but it took a Cat 416 backhoe, Deere 650 dozer, and a M series Kubota.
I’ve got a 3 bottom plow, 8’ disc, 6’ tiller and a 50hp Kubota if your close enough.
Thank you. It's in the Birmingham area-a little too far..
 

tbk5

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L3710, L3010, ZD1211, RTV900xt, GR2100, lots of 3pt equipment
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Central AL
Lots of good information. Thank you all.
 

tbk5

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L3710, L3010, ZD1211, RTV900xt, GR2100, lots of 3pt equipment
Sep 24, 2013
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Central AL
tbk,,, dont tell me you have them .25 cent horses ;)
The cartoon on the fridge says, she's into horses, he is into horsepower.... She has been riding since she was a 3yo.
 

skeets

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LOL yep I understand, the kid raises Arabs, should have 6 on the ground this spring..
OH and horses and horsepower,, ya never get your money back ;)
 

tbk5

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Sep 24, 2013
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Central AL
LOL yep I understand, the kid raises Arabs, should have 6 on the ground this spring..
OH and horses and horsepower,, ya never get your money back ;)
We had Pinto/Paint horses for many years. When we moved to AL, I commented that she spends more time taking care if the horses, leaving no time to ride. First, I survived the comment. 😄 She thought about it and we (hah, she) is down to one Palamino at the moment and is riding a lot.

We accepted that we cannot rationalize our hobbies--neither by time nor money. More importantly, we accepted that we do not need to adopt each others hobbies. I will say, however, that I spend more time "supporting" her equestrian hobby than she does with mine. 🤔
 
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forky

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It's all about being happy. I can spend hours and hours swinging the chain saw. Might seem like work to some folks, but to me it's pleasure to be in the woods making wood. The L2501 also seems happy with a bucket of wood.
 
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