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Author Topic: Advice needed on buying a small plough  (Read 1929 times)

Justin

  • Joined Jun 2012
  • Devon
Advice needed on buying a small plough
« on: January 01, 2020, 04:15:38 pm »
As we progress with our smallholding journey, and now have a small (5) starter flock of sheep, I'm looking at being able to plough some of our grass fields to sow fodder crops and new grass areas over the years to improve what we have and possibly to grow some oats for stored feed etc.

I have a Massey 135 tractor and I'm looking to get a small, probably 2 blade, plough for it and I'm looking for advice on what to look for, whether to buy a budget one new or something older. Having no experience of this, secondhand seems somewhat fraught as all the farmers round here use large ploughs on monster tractors and old ploughs seem like something that would be rife with worn out parts etc.

Where do you start?

Me

  • Joined Feb 2014
  • Wild West
Re: Advice needed on buying a small plough
« Reply #1 on: January 01, 2020, 04:23:30 pm »
Five sheep - I wouldn't bother at all. I appreciate you are looking to grow, forget the plough, buy an old rotavator and throw the seed on by hand

Fleecewife

  • Joined May 2010
  • South Lanarkshire
    • ScotHebs
Re: Advice needed on buying a small plough
« Reply #2 on: January 01, 2020, 04:49:50 pm »
Quite the opposite - yes, buy a new plough, single furrow is fine for what you are likely to need.  You can buy British made easily enough, but avoid cheapo imports.  We have a single furrow plough and a rotavator, both bought new with our Siromer back when we started.  None of that equipment was too expensive and spread over the 24 years since then, the cost is minimal.  On the other hand we bought larger equipment such as a square baler, mower and tedder very second hand.  The baler has been great and has only needed one big thing done, the mower has regularly needed a lot of work and if we had the choice again we would have bought that new, but it is still going.  The tedder was decrepit and recently we have had to replace it with new.  This equipment though has given us a huge amount of flexibility.  We do not have to ask neighbours for help, but we can help them out.  When we need to do something, then we have the equipment to hand to get on with it quickly and efficiently without wasting time on trying to do something by hand which can better be done by machine - a major consideration as you get older...which every one of us is doing.  You might have only 5 sheep, but many things have to be done the same as if you had 500.  Then of course you need somewhere to store your equipment under cover  :idea:
« Last Edit: January 01, 2020, 04:52:52 pm by Fleecewife »
Do something today that your future self will thank you for - plant a tree

 Love your soil - it's the lifeblood of your land.

Justin

  • Joined Jun 2012
  • Devon
Re: Advice needed on buying a small plough
« Reply #3 on: January 01, 2020, 08:44:17 pm »
Thank you both.

If by rotorvator, you mean a hand pushed petrol one, then that won't work, we tried it. We're on solid clay and it wouldn't even turn the veg plot over reliably after the pigs had been on it. I need something fairly industrial, hence a small plough. We also want to be able to plough and plant fodder crops or just turn over the old pasture and reseed, or cultivate chunks of the field occasionally for other crops.

Fleecewife, good to hear about your hay making as we're also planning to get a disc mower and haybob for next year. My neighbour can sometimes do our field for us but I want to have the ability to just do it when I need to rather than rely on others. The baling I'll probably get a neighbour to do as that's a much more expensive piece of equipment currently.

Any suggestions for a British made plough, I could only find second hand ones when I searched.

Fleecewife

  • Joined May 2010
  • South Lanarkshire
    • ScotHebs
Re: Advice needed on buying a small plough
« Reply #4 on: January 02, 2020, 12:17:25 am »
https://www.blacktrac-compact-tractors.co.uk/Store/Product.asp?id=464&item=New-Single-Furrow-Plough-For-Compact-Tractor  This is a bit dearer than I had expected, but then we did buy ours about 24 years ago!  I see what you mean that most small ploughs offered are second hand.  You might be lucky to find a good refurbished one for your tractor.
Have you looked in the big ads in Country Smallholding mag?  I seem to remember seeing small equipment there last time I bought a copy.
Yes for clay you need to plough so you can leave the clods exposed to frost, and bury the turf.  We used our tractor driven rotavator a few months after ploughing to create a usable tilth - infinitely quicker and more thorough than a walk-behind model
Do something today that your future self will thank you for - plant a tree

 Love your soil - it's the lifeblood of your land.

Buttermilk

  • Joined Jul 2014
Re: Advice needed on buying a small plough
« Reply #5 on: January 02, 2020, 08:05:12 am »
Do you really need to plough?  Over seeding will improve your pasture whilst retaining a root mat to protect the land from poaching.  We have clay and avoid ploughing.

When we farmed, on a lot larger scale, and grew arable crops we had to plough but always made sure that we ploughed in a really good layer of rotted FYM to help build up soil structure.  Once it rained in autumn that was it and we could not get on the land again until it dried out in spring.  We could not grow root crops of any sort as they would not have got harvested.

On your small scale slot seeding would be best for crops like kale and hand harvesting.

With hay making equipment we set on a dealer to source ours.  He then knew he had a sale for small stuff and so could take it in as a trade in, which he would otherwise have refused.  We did buy a brand new mower from him a few years down the line as it worked out far better value than a worn second hand one.

Me

  • Joined Feb 2014
  • Wild West
Re: Advice needed on buying a small plough
« Reply #6 on: January 02, 2020, 10:34:06 am »
Thank you both.

If by rotorvator, you mean a hand pushed petrol one

Depends how big your hands are but no. I was thinking more 5-6' wide + tractor 


oor wullie

  • Joined Jun 2012
  • Strathnairn
Re: Advice needed on buying a small plough
« Reply #7 on: January 02, 2020, 08:25:14 pm »
I'm all for doing as much yourself as possible and I have a wee tractor and single furrow plough myself but ploughing is probably the hardest and most technical but of tractor work you can undertake.  It's easy to plough a field but hard to make a good job of it. (this is especially important if you are not going to nuke it with roundup first as without weedkiller you are dependent on turning all your turf properly to control weeds).

If you're keen then it's worth finding someone who knows a bit about it to advise on a plough that fits your tractor and show you how to set it up.

It is absolutely worth doing but don't underestimate it.

On the other hand there is bound to be a contractor near you that will do it.    My local contractor ploughed my awkward, stony, boggy field for 50/hr (or 50/ac), he did in an evening what would have taken me half a week and the bit that I did is infested with weeds whereas the bit he did is much cleaner.



Fleecewife

  • Joined May 2010
  • South Lanarkshire
    • ScotHebs
Re: Advice needed on buying a small plough
« Reply #8 on: January 02, 2020, 11:43:30 pm »
But conversely, the acre a neighbour did with a super new 6 furrow reversible plough for us, to be helpful, is still infested with weeds, whereas the work we have done for ourselves is how we want it.  No fixed rules.
Do something today that your future self will thank you for - plant a tree

 Love your soil - it's the lifeblood of your land.

stufe35

  • Joined Jan 2013
Re: Advice needed on buying a small plough
« Reply #9 on: January 30, 2020, 10:29:08 pm »
I'd suggest the most obvious buy would be a standard Ferguson 2 furrow plough.  You should pick up a decent one for 200 and if you decide its not for you , you will get your money back when you sell it.  Will complement your 135 perfectly.

Justin

  • Joined Jun 2012
  • Devon
Re: Advice needed on buying a small plough
« Reply #10 on: May 12, 2020, 02:43:17 pm »
Sorry for the tardy reply, life's been a bit out of schedule recently, thanks for all the suggestions. Looks like we may pick up a 2 furrow Ferguson plough and see how we get on with it.

arobwk

  • Joined Nov 2015
  • Kernow: 5th UK nation
Re: Advice needed on buying a small plough
« Reply #11 on: May 12, 2020, 04:48:27 pm »
I'd suggest the most obvious buy would be a standard Ferguson 2 furrow plough.  You should pick up a decent one for 200 and if you decide its not for you , you will get your money back when you sell it.  Will complement your 135 perfectly.

Can't argue with stufe35 in the round:  a decent Ferguson plough would be ideal for your 135, but the problem will be finding one locally so that you can look-over before buying.  I couldn't find one in the SW when I was looking - they were all up North !  (Actually, I couldn't find any old Ferguson plough - or other contemporary brand - advertised as usable 'out of the box' for just 200:  I reckon one needs to pay more than that for a goodun.)

Obviously ploughs take a bit of a hammering:  best you check web resources that offer help with identifying potential problems with the old ones - regrets I haven't saved any relevant web links.

I think it was oor wullie who advised that ploughing is easy, but not easy to do well.  I can vouch for that and I can also vouch for the fact that it is very difficult to turn a good furrow with dense grass cover. AND setting up a plough properly on your tractor in the first place is also not easy for a novice !

Next, you will need some sort of harrow to break up the plough furrows idc !

If you are re-seeding for pasture, it won't matter that you have brought a whole load of existing seeds up to the surface, but it will matter if you want to create areas for sowing fodder/other crops.  If the latter, you will need to keep at it for a while (ploughing/harrowing) to knock-back any new grass growth (or you will need to use herbicide). 

In the end, I bought what I believe to be a Polish-built 2 furrow plough from machinerysalesEU Ltd:  obviously I put it through it's paces immediately and, as indicated above, soon learned that set-up and ploughing is not easy.  Unfortunately, for a whole load of reasons last year, I had to put skilling-up to one side and I haven't yet, for another load of reasons this year, attempted a meaningful retry:  therefore I cannot offer any useful user comment on the msEU plough.  What I do know though is that I would have gone for a good old Ferguson (or equivalent) if I could have found one !! 


I have a few other thoughts, but gotta go right now.

Justin

  • Joined Jun 2012
  • Devon
Re: Advice needed on buying a small plough
« Reply #12 on: May 14, 2020, 02:33:25 pm »
Another question from looking at adverts, do I want a plough with disks and skims or without? One place I'm looking has one without for 250 and one with for 375

arobwk

  • Joined Nov 2015
  • Kernow: 5th UK nation
Re: Advice needed on buying a small plough
« Reply #13 on: May 14, 2020, 06:53:51 pm »
You already know my novice credentials @Justin so I will not pretend I'm offering knowledgeable comment.  However, disks and skims are all about optimum ploughing and more consistent furrows. 

To offer a very personal thought;  if I was happy with both plough offerings I would probably go for the one with disks/skims at the slightly higher price.  I'm not entirely sure about the advantage of skim's, but I seem to think disks would help with cleaner "rolls" especially if ploughing a denser turf. 

(Of course, the more sophisticated the plough the more fettling that will be required initially and over time.)





Justin

  • Joined Jun 2012
  • Devon
Re: Advice needed on buying a small plough
« Reply #14 on: May 16, 2020, 12:32:25 pm »
Thanks, that goes along with my thoughts too.

 

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