NFU Mutual Smallholding Insurance

Author Topic: Tilling without a plough  (Read 2291 times)

arobwk

  • Joined Nov 2015
  • Kernow - some say it's in England !
Tilling without a plough
« on: July 18, 2016, 01:21:26 am »
Would anyone kindly offer me their thoughts/experiences on long-term tilling without a mold-board (m-b) plough.   

A previous owner of my fields asked  “Are you planning to plough the grass fields for your new tree nursery?” … “Actually, yes.” … “Hmm!” he replied with a knowing smile!  He did elaborate and, as my 2 meadow fields were once 7 enclosures with dry-stone granite walls/hedges, I decided best ask another neighbour with a sprung plough to do the 1st tillage for many years!  (A 3rd 1ha field is very rough pasture for gradual improvement and certainly not ploughable yet!) 
One field ploughed a few weeks ago (with a few granite boulders encountered); 2nd field ploughing delayed for reasons I won't bore you with – it will be ploughed when other needs permit, but I'm now needing/looking to 'harrow' myself AND also, for the future, wondering whether I really need a m-b plough at all for 1-2 yr tilling of tree-sapling transplant-beds.
I'm wondering;  why not instead get a tined harrow/chisel plough (with depth adjustment) to harrow the current ploughing and then use it to maintain transplant beds into the future and also, maybe, carefully start on breaking up the rough pasture and bracken roots (subject to prior big-boulder surveys!!) 

Any thoughts anyone please?

[ Hope the above makes some sense!  Tractor is 35 HP compact 'alpine' type.  Web searches have found a tined 'harrow' with an attachable crumbler, but it didn't look particularly substantial! ]
Voss Electric Fence

shep53

  • Joined Jan 2011
  • Argyll
Re: Tilling without a plough
« Reply #1 on: July 19, 2016, 07:19:34 pm »
Have you looked at compact rotavators

arobwk

  • Joined Nov 2015
  • Kernow - some say it's in England !
Re: Tilling without a plough
« Reply #2 on: July 20, 2016, 01:19:31 am »
Shep, simple answer is yes, I have considered rotavator.  If I can find a small 2nd-hand one at a very good price, might go for that option, but not optimistic. However, wouldn't dare run rotavator over my 3rd rough field and would still need something rather more robust/forgiving.

shep53

  • Joined Jan 2011
  • Argyll
Re: Tilling without a plough
« Reply #3 on: July 20, 2016, 01:03:31 pm »
Difficult without seeing the ground , you make it sound very bad for boulders /rocks sounds like you need a guy with a small digger to get them out and move  . Was it the SIROMER 1.3M  power harrow you looked at looks soilid in the picture , remove the leveller and it might rip up your field   ?   A set of disc harrows  would cut up the vegetation  down to maybe 6" and run over the boulders ?         Spring tine harrows would work the ground already ploughed . what ever you buy is going to be small and weaker to go with your tractor and is not going to last in rocks

arobwk

  • Joined Nov 2015
  • Kernow - some say it's in England !
Re: Tilling without a plough
« Reply #4 on: July 20, 2016, 10:03:28 pm »
Thank you kindly for your thoughts Shep. 
The attached pic is the spring tine harrow I came across and I don't think I would run this one over the rough field at all (well, maybe after a 1st or 2nd pass with something very robust and having identified/removed rocks).  I've checked out the Siromer power harrow you mentioned, but bit pricey for me right now and, again, I definitely wouldn't risk that on the rough (plus, 1.3m just a bit too narrow so that would have to be the even pricier 1.7m for general tilling).
Food for thought whether a disc harrow would run over the boulders (and identify their location for subsequent  removal).
Re the nature of the 2.5ac rough field: used to be grazed by sheep and then pigs were introduced for a while, but you wouldn't know it now though.  Field never 'improved' (obviously for a reason) but I'm just not going to waste it - it will take trees after a bit of work.  Presently riddled with bracken, gorse, bramble and grass tussocks: latter so old that they have formed solid elevated mounds.  I could, indeed, bring in a digger, but again it's all extra cost and I'm in no rush (I'd rather deal with it myself, bit-by-bit, during idle moments). 
In summary:  I am now realising need to completely separate general tilling requirement from the rough-field improvement and look for completely different implements.  Might bring a box-blade into the mix and, maybe, get a couple of longer box-blade tines (subsoiler-type blades) made up to help un-earth any deeper rocks encountered.
Thank again.







 
« Last Edit: July 20, 2016, 10:21:03 pm by arobwk »

shep53

  • Joined Jan 2011
  • Argyll
Re: Tilling without a plough
« Reply #5 on: July 21, 2016, 06:28:37 pm »
Don't think I'd be using that spring tine on anything but  ground already very well cultivated , If you look on EBAY  in agriculture and farming , look at subsoilers /chisel ploughs may be of interest for ideas

arobwk

  • Joined Nov 2015
  • Kernow - some say it's in England !
Re: Tilling without a plough
« Reply #6 on: July 24, 2016, 10:50:16 am »
I agree with you on that Shep!  Mind you, my soil is light and something like the pictured STH with roller might work into the mix for later.  Anyway, as you suggest, I'm still searching.

arobwk

  • Joined Nov 2015
  • Kernow - some say it's in England !
Re: Tilling without a plough
« Reply #7 on: August 27, 2016, 10:55:57 pm »
I now have a Siromer 4' disc harrow (DH):  was expecting 16" notched discs (ref' web spec's), but mine has 18" discs - I'm happy with that and Anika (my 35HP AGT tractor) has no problem in harrowing with it at a brisk pace (but see comment* later)!  Thoughts of a spring-tine harrow are on hold for the moment and I might consider 3-way chain-harrow instead, having bought the DH.  Forked out for the DH after trying my box-grader (BG) with 5x rigid tines to break up the ploughed fields:  the BG did sort-of work, tipped forward with v shortened top-link, but needed much concentration to avoid getting 'dug-in' on humps and hollows.  Also, the BG tines were dragging up ploughed turf more than I would wish.   Hence the DH purchase - much much better/easier and I find that it rides over un-found/un-picked rocks reasonably well (without major issue so far!)
My Siromer DH is not the most sophisticated design in the world (with rather too many nuts & bolts to check for tightness), but it works well enough!

Comment*:  Becoming bored with up and down harrowing, I thought I would try out some agri-art!  Unfortunately, harrowing anything other than the gentlest of curves soon had Anika's tyres scrubbing for grip - she was up for it, but soft soil meant that her tyres weren't.  Ah well, best I stick to 2x up and down and one across!  :)






arobwk

  • Joined Nov 2015
  • Kernow - some say it's in England !
Re: Tilling without a plough
« Reply #8 on: September 04, 2016, 06:03:59 pm »
I forgot to mention (in prev' post):  experimenting with harrowing speed (reducing speed a little) and ensuring both front & rear discs got equal 'bite' (via 3PL top-link adjust), I achieved good penetration from both front & rear disc gangs on my soft moorland-type soil:  nigh on to disc axle depth, so about 6-7", without any additional weight being added to the Siromer disc harrow.  So, while not the most sophisticated DH design in the world, the 18" disc Siromer offering (with its v decent price tag) certainly does it for me!

 

Plough

Started by waterhouse

Replies: 8
Views: 9105
Last post June 08, 2011, 11:38:58 am
by si-mate
£62.99p Plough

Started by Odin

Replies: 5
Views: 2637
Last post July 06, 2012, 08:00:32 pm
by deepinthewoods
to plough up grass and re seed?

Started by Mel Rice

Replies: 7
Views: 2760
Last post October 07, 2012, 09:14:32 pm
by ballingall
Where to buy replacement plough points

Started by benkt

Replies: 2
Views: 1467
Last post April 18, 2013, 06:41:32 pm
by stufe35
compact tractor plough

Started by paulboyrenishaw

Replies: 2
Views: 1899
Last post August 10, 2014, 10:37:57 am
by pgkevet

Forum sponsors

FibreHut Energy Helpline Thomson & Morgan Time for Paws Scottish Smallholder & Grower Festival Little Peckers

© The Accidental Smallholder Ltd 2003-2019. All rights reserved.

Design by Furness Internet

Site developed by Champion IS