Disc harrows

Matt Ellerbee

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Jun 27, 2019
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Canton, Georgia
Thinking of adding some disc’s to the implement pile. Wanting to do a largish garden and maybe some food plots in the woods, to hopefully keep the deer out of the garden!

FIL has a tiller and what I think is a cultivator? Would a set of disc compliment these or would something else be better?

This will be behind a MX6000.
 

hedgerow

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Jan 2, 2015
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Malcolm NE
To me a disc and a harrow are two separate pieces of equipment. Back before notill farming we had tine harrows attached to the back of our discs to level the ground behind the disc. If you already have a tiller I couldn't see the need for a disc or harrow. Maybe a harrow to do some leveling behind the tiller. I like tillers for gardens and food plots.
 
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Matt Ellerbee

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MX6000
Jun 27, 2019
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Canton, Georgia
To me a disc and a harrow are two separate pieces of equipment. Back before notill farming we had tine harrows attached to the back of our discs to level the ground behind the disc. If you already have a tiller I couldn't see the need for a disc or harrow. Maybe a harrow to do some leveling behind the tiller. I like tillers for gardens and food plots.
Maybe I am confused on the nomenclature. Is there anything to look at with a picture telling what each implement is? And also in what step they are used for soil preparation?
 

airbiscuit

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Plowing a field.
 
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airbiscuit

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Discing a field.
 
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airbiscuit

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New Holland T2310, New Holland TC21D, Kubota l3010 GST, Farmall H
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Dragging a field (chain harrow)
 
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jyoutz

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MX6000 HST open station, FEL, 6’ rotary cutter, forks, 8’ rear blade
Jan 14, 2019
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Edgewood, New Mexico
Thinking of adding some disc’s to the implement pile. Wanting to do a largish garden and maybe some food plots in the woods, to hopefully keep the deer out of the garden!

FIL has a tiller and what I think is a cultivator? Would a set of disc compliment these or would something else be better?

This will be behind a MX6000.
I think that you have what is needed for garden prep. What you don’t have is something to deeply break the soil to reduce compaction and the hardpan created by a tiller. I have the same tractor as you, and I just ordered this for that purpose:


I plan to rip the soil deeply in the fall and spring, then use a rototiller for garden soil prep.
 
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GreensvilleJay

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BX23-S
Apr 2, 2019
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Went to that Fred Cain page, doesn't say how DEEP it'll go, so it'd only work on surface hardpan(6-8" ??). I run a single tooth 'subsoiler' that's goes down about 30". In the wife's garden I could run 2nd gear, high range,easy. In the neighbour's field(30 years notill) 1st gear,LOW range, full throttle and tractor(40HP) NOT really happy.
I'd run subsoiler, plow, discs with harrows, then rototiller for the wife's garden AND add 20-60 yds of compost every year.
 
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rc51stierhoff

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Sep 13, 2021
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Try this…

There may still be some grey areas, but I think once you decide till vs no till you should be in the ball park. I am not entirely sure I understand your goal…is it to till / break up soul or are you wanting something to help in the garden? Do you already have a tiller? At least for me, I use the tiller to prepare the soil, some argue against but that is their business. For my food plots it’s very shallow…I broadcast seed direct and then drag a piece of fence over it. For my garden I till as deep as I can go…this breaks up all the soil and turns it. A disc would break it up but not as deep and not as fine…however I think no till believers would argue against the tiller. Good for them…I don’t have the dirt blowing away like they did in Oklahoma or wherever in the 1900s from over doing it. Anyways, after I till the garden then I make rows and then plant. If youare looking to make raised rows, maybe a garden bedder or hiller would be a good second step after you till. If you have a tiller I am not sure what you would do with the discs other than slitseeding? Depends on your goal and the condition of your soil and whatever works best. For non production folks I doubt you will overwork your soil whatever you choose. Most tillers you can adjust the depth so you can either touch up the top or go fairly deep. A little more description might help to clarify your goal. I hope I helped somewhat.
 
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airbiscuit

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NW WI
I would never fault a person for buying implements, but it sounds like you have a solution in search of a problem. A tiller pretty much does the work of a plow, disc and drag. Maybe get a rough cut mower, fertilizer spreader or landscape rake instead.

If you do have soil compaction, then you need to go DEEP with a sub soiler or chisel plow.
 
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Matt Ellerbee

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MX6000
Jun 27, 2019
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Canton, Georgia
I think that you have what is needed for garden prep. What you don’t have is something to deeply break the soil to reduce compaction and the hardpan created by a tiller. I have the same tractor as you, and I just ordered this for that purpose:


I plan to rip the soil deeply in the fall and spring, then use a rototiller for garden soil prep.
FIL has a very old cultivator, half broken and missing shanks. I think it only has 3, maybe 4. I’ll have to look next time I’m over there.
 

Matt Ellerbee

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MX6000
Jun 27, 2019
780
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Canton, Georgia
I would never fault a person for buying implements, but it sounds like you have a solution in search of a problem. A tiller pretty much does the work of a plow, disc and drag. Maybe get a rough cut mower, fertilizer spreader or landscape rake instead.

If you do have soil compaction, then you need to go DEEP with a sub soiler or chisel plow.
Hence my asking for help... I don’t know, what I don’t know. Ya know?!
 

rc51stierhoff

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B2650, MX6000
Sep 13, 2021
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Ohio
Here is another interesting article.

It’s maybe different from your original post but maybe related?

in my opinion for most home owners or let’s say hobbiest that believe in science…if you don’t that’s ok, but generally a tiller does multiple steps at once in terms of the soil preparation. Tiller sorta does what a plow and disc and cultivator or barrow do but in one step. For those that are trying to prevent erosion (dry climates or severe topography) iI have to assume they are in much hillier land than I am and requiring terracing. But no till really means no anything…If terracing not required then I’d question how an average individual could ever measure the benefit despite the weather changes from year to year.
 
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NCL4701

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airbuiscut’s explanation and advice is on point. Only thing I’d add is in relation to the need to break up hard pan. There’s no reason to break up hard pan unless you actually have hard pan.

If the area you’re planting has drainage issues maybe you need to run a ripper/subsoiler/chisel plow through it to penetrate the hard pan. Clearly that would have to be something that goes deeper than your tiller so something that runs 8” deep is not going to be effective. If the area you’re planting doesn’t have drainage issues, don’t know why you’d spend the time, money, and fuel to rip it deeper than you’re tilling it unless you have a real reason to do it.
 
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bird dogger

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I've used both a rear pto powered rototiller and small cultivator for the past 30 yrs on our place. We have no wind erosion to worry about and the roto tiller does most of the work in the fall to both till and reduce the garden residue and incorporate it back into the soil.

I did borrow a sub soiler once and ripped the 3 acre corn patch down about 18 to 20 inches every 3 ft. I couldn't notice any difference in the soil or yield the following years. My tractor and equipment doesn't weigh much and maybe the frost coming out of the ground each year did as much good to break up any so called hard pan?

I'll also make a pass over the ground late in the fall with the S tine cultivator and set it to run 8 to 10 inches deep or as deep as it will go if conditions are right. Then usually one or two quick passes with it in the spring with the roller baskets attached leaves a perfect seed bed in our soil for the 4 row planter.

I agree with the above posts that state a roto tiller is the most useful attachement for garden and or small food plot use. A small field cultivator for busting up the ground and finding all the hidden rocks first would also be nice and between the two would serve you well.

Here's a pic of my 5 ft cultivator modified to accept a couple of rolling baskets and extra s-tines to match their width.
S tine cultivator rolling baskets.jpg
 
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Matt Ellerbee

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MX6000
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Canton, Georgia
Thanks for all the help guys.
The field I would be planting in, was once farm land, ~80 years ago, now it is just some pasture grass I keep knocked down 2 times a year or so. No idea on the drainage, but I haven’t seen puddles or bad runoff after a rain, so I would think that is ok.

So I think I would need to plow to bust up virgin soil. Then till before bed prep? If that is correct, I think the field cultivator would be the tool for the job. As for the food plots in the woods, I could just plow then over seed, correct?
 

jyoutz

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MX6000 HST open station, FEL, 6’ rotary cutter, forks, 8’ rear blade
Jan 14, 2019
485
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Edgewood, New Mexico
Went to that Fred Cain page, doesn't say how DEEP it'll go, so it'd only work on surface hardpan(6-8" ??). I run a single tooth 'subsoiler' that's goes down about 30". In the wife's garden I could run 2nd gear, high range,easy. In the neighbour's field(30 years notill) 1st gear,LOW range, full throttle and tractor(40HP) NOT really happy.
I'd run subsoiler, plow, discs with harrows, then rototiller for the wife's garden AND add 20-60 yds of compost every year.
I talked with Travis at EA and read the reviews on their website. It seems like this implement can rip about 12”. That is sufficient for my purposes. The only thing that rips deeper is a true subsoiler.
 

jyoutz

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MX6000 HST open station, FEL, 6’ rotary cutter, forks, 8’ rear blade
Jan 14, 2019
485
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Edgewood, New Mexico
airbuiscut’s explanation and advice is on point. Only thing I’d add is in relation to the need to break up hard pan. There’s no reason to break up hard pan unless you actually have hard pan.

If the area you’re planting has drainage issues maybe you need to run a ripper/subsoiler/chisel plow through it to penetrate the hard pan. Clearly that would have to be something that goes deeper than your tiller so something that runs 8” deep is not going to be effective. If the area you’re planting doesn’t have drainage issues, don’t know why you’d spend the time, money, and fuel to rip it deeper than you’re tilling it unless you have a real reason to do it.
If you just till soil, over several years a “plow pan” will develop just below the tillage depth in any soil that has compaction potential (any soil with a clay component). That’s why it’s necessary to rip deeper periodically. Also in dry climates, deep ripping encourages better retention of winter moisture.
 

Bark

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Feb 18, 2020
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I don't have hard pan but the dirt/clay gets so hard that my hand operated big garden tiller will beat me to death if I wait too long (ground get totally dry and hard).
Love my old 3PT mounted disk.
I disk the new garden area a couple of times than the old hand tiller (12hs Montgomery Ward) goes through the remaining clumps like butter.
The disk is what I use for the perimeter fire breaks
 

bird dogger

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Matt, a roto tiller would also bust up that pasture grass. You've certainly got the horsepower for it. You might want to kill it off with some roundup first. They have a tendency to plug when rototilling long green grass or anything really that still has moisture in it.

If you're pasture ground isn't that terribly hard a field cultivator will do the busting up for you instead of having to use a plow. The cultivator just leaves the soil more rough or clumply behind....depending on your soils conditions at the time. The roto tiller breaks up and pulverises the soil into much finer bits.

Once you've busted up the soil....whether it be by plow, cultivator, or roto tiller.....the following yrs are much easier to prepare for planting.

The trade off between a cultivator or roto tiller: The roto tiller leaves a much finer fluffier soil behind it. It's most likely slower going. The field cultivator: Doesn't break the soil down to as fine a material but is quicker and you can most likely handle a wider implement than the tiller behind your tractor. The cultivator can penetrate deeper.

Not sure if we're still confusing/switching terms on the equipment or not. I'm calling the roto tiller a pto powered rear mounted rotary tiller. The cultivator is a non pto 3 pt mounted cultivator that breaks up/tills
the ground. Used roto tillers are more hard to find and new ones are expensive. Still my first choice. A used cultivator is much easier to find and not near as expensive. Thus, it's nice to have both.....but either one will do what you need given time.

Your MX would certainly sink that Cain field cultivator to the hilt if it was properly sized and your ground wasn't rock hard. And once the ground is broken up you could mount different sweeps on it to suit your needs for your soil. The sweeps are the end points and come in different widths from narrow to quite wide.

David
 
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