Contributors to this thread:
I'm looking to buy a disc in the near future and was wondering what type everyone is using. I'd like a 3 point but I am being told they don't do a very good job. I have a 5200 John Deere with front wheel assist that has 45 horse power and I am thinking it could handle a 8 foot disc. Just wondering if anyone else has been down this road and would have any insight to which disc works better.
Are you asking whether a 3pt harrow is as effective as a drag harrow that has wheels and you tow it?
I’ve only used 3pt harrows but I’m considering a larger wheel harrow with more weight. My woods 3pt harrow is 6’ and takes a lot of passes unless the ground has been previously broken.
You might also consider a rotary tiller.
Tractor supply has had a killer Father's Day sale on them the last 2 years. Your tractor is plenty big enough for a 6' tiller.
How do you plan on using your disc? If you are going to only use the disc to break ground you will be disappointed. You will not have enough weight and down pressure to effectively break the soil without making multiple passes.
I plow all of my plots with a 3 bottom moldboard plow then disc with a 6 ft. 3 pt. Howes disc. In that application the disc works great. My disc also has notched blades both front and rear gangs. I then level the plots with a 7 ft. 3 pt. landscape rake, broadcast the seed, and then roll it with a lawn roller behind my quad. As long as mother nature provides rain I have great food plots every year.
Howes makes outstanding disc.
Always so quick to destroy the soil.
You are absolutely wrong RIT and so is the author. Over use of herbicide for no-til has turned certain weeds into resistant weeds just like with bacteria and antibiotics. The herbicide burns the skin of reptiles and amphibians as well as causes cancer in humans. It kills new forbs needed for ground nesting chicks and birds. I've owned a farm 10 years and the years they disced and ripped the hard pan, were the years my corn and soybeans grew like they were on steroids.
You’re absolutely a funny dude Thornton. 10 whole years you owned a farm? Outstanding. I didn’t make this up it’s just the facts whether you like it or not.
Where do you think the hardpan came from? Piss poor soil structure from discing, tilling, or whatever else you use. I no till and rarely ever spray anything. Occasional spot spray of aggressive weeds. Do what you want to your soil but I bet next you are going to tell me you don’t have to use any inputs on your perfect soil. Give me a break.
Tilled, fertilized, and row planted soybeans
Tilled, fertilized, and row planted soybeans
Glad that's settled.
Seriously, I disk and have never seen any of the issues the article describes. Been doing it for 25 years. Still have fantastic soil and my plots grow amazing. If you don't care for tilling? No problem. It's your land - do what you want.
Not sure what all the fuss is about.
Have used both a disc and roller for years. Both have their place depending on your specific situation which may vary year to year based on what you planted the previous. Get them both if you can- you will enjoy what each one can do.
Here is what my soil guru says from World Agriculture Solutions: "The world production of Glyphosate is now measured in Billions of pounds, and Bayer-Monsanto is strongly marketing this herbicide in developing countries. Even worse, they have targeted the forest industry and are pushing their vision of vast monoculture plantations with genetically-modified trees stretching from horizon to horizon. This is NOT science fiction. I have seen this already. We Germans learned 400 years ago that multiple species are essential for forest survival. An environmental catastrophe is coming and most folks are oblivious to the threat." Round up is EVIL. Lasts up to 20 years in the soil (despite what Monsanto says) and binds microelements in the soil. Pat you are poisoning your deer. Ok, bring it on farmer boys. hee hee
You do what ever you want on your land but I'm stating facts with first hand experience. The hard pan was stunting root growth on my farm because it had never been disked. After it was ripped and disked, I got bottom ground yield on hard, upland soil. My grandfather and dad were farmers since the 1930's and they were in favor of disking, stating it actually saved their crops on a dry year. He would periodically disc between the rows and I guess the little rain was able to penetrate the turned up soil. Every other farmer in the area had a loss that year.
I am convinced minimum soil disturbance is the healthiest approach, theoretically. I am also convinced a no till approach not only requires herbicides like gly in most operations, contrary to what was said above, but might also be encouraged by big companies like Bayre/Monsanto for obvious reasons.
Most guys probably do less than 5 acres of plots. A drill is hard to justify unless you have money to burn. I do disc or till since I have both. It depends on the soil and rock content present.
To the OP, before purchasing a second tractor, a 75HP, I did everything and still do a lot with my 45HP with FWD. Discing or tilling typically does not do a great job on breaking new soil. I purchased a single shank sub-soiler from TSC and work the field with it before tilling or discing.
An important secondary reason for working the soil IMO is also to get your soil amendments at the depth necessary. Lime top dressed takes years to do any good lowering ph as the lime can only work on soil particles that it comes in contact with.
My results are not as attractive as Pat's, but the wildlife hardly minds.
Forgot the picture. These are broadcasted after ripping with the single shank sub-soiler, then applying fertilizer and lime and then tilling twice, a few weeks apart. Pulled a drag harrow to cover, and timed it right before a rain.
I use this 7 ft mounted disk to cut up corn stalks and such. It cuts pretty well with 200 pounds of extra weight on it. I pull a heavy pipe behind to help level, but it will never do the leveling job a wheel disk will. I follow with one pass with the tiller and I’m good to go. A friend of mine has no tilled one field for 43 years. He still has to apply herbicides and fertilizer at the same rate as tilled ground
What NH tractor is that and what HP? It appears to be a newer generation.
See what you started, Muley?!!
I’ve only used hydraulic lift discs, but I would think either one would work for you. Like others have stated, you may have to add some weight to get better results, especially on virgin/fallow ground. Agree with other, a 3 pt rototiller is great implement. . Farm consignment and retirement auctions are, oftentimes, a good place to pick up food plot sized implements relatively cheaply. Not sure if you’ll find a disc narrow enough to till between your rows, though! ;-)
Never saw a disc between the rows either...maybe he ment cultivators?...;-).... Most of the guys planting food plot are on the edge of a wood or in the woods here. Virgin ground with grass briars and roots is tough to work! I like the rotiller as it's one and done....then next year set the depth on the tiller just a couple inches to work the top. (Yea you can set the depth) This works great for mulching in leaves and debris. I agree the ripper sub soiler has its place also.
Well Pat not all soils are created equal. You can also produce picture perfect plots in any soil with enough inputs and adequate rain. I know i’ve read on here before about how much rain you receive in your area.
It’s funny to hear guys say how perfect their soil is when it’s been on a corn and bean rotation for 30 years. Yet they are almost bankrupt due to the cost of inputs. Not speaking about this or your particular situation because me like most on here are planting less than 5 acres and it is purely for entertainment. But if you already have poor soil tilling and discing will not improve it.
There are a bunch of no till and organic farmers out there that are not spraying a drop of chemical. Look up a roller crimper. They are using these to terminate winter cover crops and drilling beans or corn right into them with no chemicals used. It can’t be done? Hmm check out Gabe Brown, Ray Archeleta and a bunch of other cover crops gurus. Some of them now spray 1 time a year versus the 5 they used too. No till doesn’t have to represent mass chemical spray.
Using a crimp roller to terminate cover crops...
What are the yield differences, long and short run? Fuel consumption differences over the entire cycle.
I don't know any plotters on a bean/corn rotation. Most rotate perennials/annuals etc.
HfW I am not talking about farmers near as much as food plot guys. It was a general statement about pounding soil with a disc or a plow.
I don’t have the yield numbers off hand for Gabe brown or other no till cover crop farmers but I’d bet the farm that it’s profitable and sustainable or they wouldn’t be doing it. I also bet a quick google search will give you the numbers you seek. I do know that some of them like Gabe Brown haven’t used synthetic fertilizer since early 2000s. I also recall reading that when he started his soil OM was under 2 and now it is close to 7. Water infiltration was also about a 1/2 inch an hour to and inch per 9 seconds now. These numbers stick with me because that’s about soil health and not about yields. I don’t care at all about yields and I am very weed tolerant because even those weeds serve a purpose to me.
As far as the fuel I have seen some rigs where they have a roller crimper in the front and a drill in the back. So that sounds like one pass to me. I’d gather it’s less fuel than the guy that hits it with a plow, then a disc, then something to level, then seed it, then spray a few times during the growing season.
I never said conventional tillage didn’t work. I said it destroys the soil, kills earth worms, causes compaction, aids to runoff, decrease water infiltration and the list goes on and on. You can have great yields with a disc with inputs and adequate rain. But again how many folks that plant plots care about yield?
Habitat, it’s a Boomer 37. 37 hp. Handles the 7 foot disk easily
Count me as one who cares about yield. If I’m going to take the time and effort to plant a food plot, I’m going to do my best to get the most out of it(within reason) and not just half ass it. I agree that deer browse on tons of different plants/weeds and not just corn, soybeans,clover, etc., but I’m convinced that the deer in my area will benefit far more come Jan-March, on my standing corn and soybeans than they will from some dried up pigweed, ragweed, etc. stems when they are scrambling to fill their bellies when it’s -20 out. The better job I do of raising my plot crops, the more of it there is in late winter for the deer and turkeys to utilize when it’s needed most.
Well I wouldn’t say that I am half assing it by taking better care of the soil. Deer have yet to eat every bit of green that I have planted. Food plots in general are a small part of the daily intake for a deer. I am sure that becomes skewed when you are specifically talking Ag type plants at various times of the year. I’m sure Beans in the winter are a large part if left standing. But what most people call weeds deer call browse. Ragweed is readily consumed at my place. Pigweed is a noxious invasive weed that doesn’t get browsed. That one you would be much better to eliminate at all cost. Water hemp, thistle, and Johnson grass also come to mind.
With all that said there are a bunch of things farmers call weeds that have just as much protein as beans that deer readily consume. I also have 150 mature white oaks on my property with maybe 50 red oaks. On good acorn years they don’t hit my plots hard at all.
Don’t quote me on this but I think the first deer was in the US some 3 or 4 million years ago. They know how to survive without food plots regardless of yield.
I love my 3-pt rototiller.
My half assed comment was not directed towards you, RIT. If you took it that way, my apologies. It was just a generalization. The deer here in Iowa most definitely DO browse on pigweed/waterhemp extensively, at least when it’s green. They just don’t eat enough of it to even make a dent in it. I am trying to do my best to eliminate those weeds you listed, but it’s kind of hard to target JUST those weeds.
I must have a higher deer per sq mile population than you do, because by the time spring rolls around, every bit of my (15+ acres) of corn, beans, brassicas, clover, etc. has been consumed. There are also thousands of mature red, white, and burr oaks in my immediate area to provide mast as well.
FIve acres? Not worth the investment in a drill from my perspective.
This is our 13th year owning our MO farm, 17 on our KS property the above beans are on. Soil samples from the farm the first year versus this year show show major improvement in ph, fertility and OM.
I rotate intensely, green manure etc. Have dramatically reduced the need for fertilizers. I think I am taking advantage of both approaches and improving the soil while keep costs down. In fact, the state agrees I have!
In this area I only know of two herbicide applications in a growing cycle, usually one each of pre and post emergence.
Bull,. Thanks for your link. Great read. Increased costs for sure. I agree with Troy on maximizing yields. I use NG stands with forbs to increase diversity. I also try and rotate NG stands as they are great at building OM and by maintaining them for 10 or more years on the same ground really helps the soil IMO.
I would encourage small habitat managers to continue with plots and increasing plant diversity to improve carrying capacity, even if you have to use conventional methods.
I'll tell you the millions of nightcrawlers disappeared off my place after they sprayed Roundup. Never saw a mass extinction after plowing that I remember.
WWFD. What would Frank do. That’s all I need to know.
How the heck did those night crawlers get ahold of Roundup??
No worries T-roy no need for an apology I have much thicker skin than that even if I was your intended target.
I fully understand your sediment about deer densities and I may think differently if my plots were eaten to the dirt every year. I am surrounded by a few thousand acres of Ag so for what little I plant beans or corn just doesn’t set my place apart from the surrounding areas. I have to focus on those times when nature is stingy. For me if I can provide nice green fields in early fall through late winter to go with great cover it’s a win/win.
Again I am not disputing whether traditional methods can be successful or not. I am just pointing to the fact that soil disturbance isn’t ideal for the soil. Now you may be in the minority that you are actually putting OM back into the soil on an intense rotation. If you are increasing OM, limiting O2 into the soil, preventing runoff, etc have roots growing most of the year and it’s working for you I wouldn’t change anything either. Is your soil what it could be? Maybe maybe not but it’s that if it’s not broken thing right?
Now the guy that only plants fall plots or disc the snot out of it twice a year isn’t seeing the same benefits as you especially if they aren’t putting OM back into the soil. No till drill on anything that doesn’t produce an income is very hard to justify. I don’t have one. But damn I sure do want one. Just solely for the crazy mix you could plant. If I could plant a 10 or 15 way cover crop cocktail I’d do it every year. One thing you nailed was diversity. If you try to mimic nature with diversity in your planting you will limit failures.
I would also note that not all soils are created equal. I was blessed or cursed with terrible soil. I have one section of rocky droughty soil and another in heavy clay. One is almost impossible to work and the other crust over and stays waterlogged. I had to find a way to improve it.
BB outstanding link I have never read that but a wealth of info.
Thornton - curious did you use an abacus or your fingers to count that high?
Traditionally planted brassicas.
Traditionally planted brassicas.
Traditionally planted and grew outstanding. Right up until the rain stopped and high temps set in mid September. My soil at the time couldn’t retain moisture with really low OM. Almost the entire plot wiped out by October. I also planted too heavy.
Good communication...as all of us are noting, there are many variables to consider. I share here and glad you and others do as well because that is how we learn and gain knowledge. Thanks!
If I win the lottery, a drill will be my first purchase and will include all three seed boxes. I am hoping a rich person will send me one since I am passionate about this work:-)
Muley, in answer to your original question, I have a similar set-up to you. Except my JD is a 52-horse model. I run a 3-pt mounted 8-foot twin-gang disc-harrow (Frontier DH1296). No added weight on the disc. I keep it set at an aggressive angle, and it pulls fine in low gear. My tractor will not pull it in any higher gear though, without bogging down. And my soils are fairly light. I would really prefer to run it faster, but don't have enough tractor for it. Your 45 hp "should" be ok for an 8-foot disc, but I believe you may be marginal on hp.
Thanks for all the responses. I've been no tilling in the past and am now opening up some parts on 2 of my farms to food plots. Clearing new areas with a skidloader and thought a disc would help level it out in the end. I like the idea of having the 3 point mounted gang disc to get into tighter spots but didn't know how well they worked because they look pretty light. I don't know if I could go the tiller route, I used one once and it was a really slow process. I do have some bigger areas to disc and I am thinking the tiller would take forever to till it up.
If you are working newly cleared land, you, you will have better luck with the disk. Leftover roots and sticks will make it hard to till for several years. You are correct that tilling is slow. I still like the final results from tilling after disking.
A 6’ three point disc is all I’ve ever had to do food plots with. Same disc on a 57 hp that I had is now pulled by a 65 hp that I bought last year. I have no problems growing good plots if I get rain. Would I like to go no-till ? Yep, but whose gonna give me $10-$12K to buy it with ? Can’t throw-and-mow here, the damn hogs will eat the seed as fast as you can throw. So for me, it’s gly to terminate, disc as little as possible, plant, rinse and repeat.
Oh, and it’s a Land Pride disc with scalloped blades. Damn goodun too !
We have a disc and a harrow and a tiller and use them all. Also got a chisel plow a couple of years ago and it really works well on breaking up hardpan. You have to have sufficient hp to pull it though. Most of my equipment was purchased used. Many good pieces of used equipment is available these days if you look around.
Drycreek, my guess is if you palletize your seeds, which is a clay coding, you’ll get a lot less hog forage on the seed.