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to plow or not to plow

Farming for Big Game and Game Birds

to plow or not to plow

Postby Gino Bruno » Sat Sep 18, 2010 9:35 pm

since legumes such as alfalfa and clover start off as VERY tiny seeds and can only stand about 1/4" depth MAX for germination, is it worth completely turning over ground? i have a 2 bottom plow that i just picked up (and have used the piss out of) but what are the pros and cons? i also have a 7foot disc, an 8foot section of chain harrow as well as a 5ft PTO tiller and used all of those this past spring to prep the soil for the alfalfa i planted (about 10 acres). at the time, i didn't have the plow and really wasn't sure if my tractor could pull one.

my tractor has the HP (32hp) but the weight is what i was concerned with..... without the loader or any implements , it weighs 2600lbs which by tractor standards is a feather-weight. as luck would have it, i found one cheap on craigslist and if i set the angles on the lower lift arms right, it will pull it..... it does struggle a little with traction at times with ground that hasn't been turned in some time but does just fine in ground that has been recently worked.

anyway, with plants that require very little seed depth to germinate, is it worth it to turn it or is using a disc fine? i know that many weed seeds can stay dormant for up to 40 years, so while i may be turning the newer seeds to deep to germinate, i may also be bringing to the surface some that have just been waiting for such an opportunity....... and we have a hell of a toadflax and bugloss problem out here....... rush skeleton weed is also an issue as well.
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Re: to plow or not to plow

Postby Jim Casto Jr » Sat Sep 18, 2010 9:49 pm

If you want to cut it deep with that tractor, you could always adjust the toe of the plow up some and set your float about 6" deep and cut it twice. Personally, I'd just use the tiller. It only needs one pass and then use the harrow to cover the seed.
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Re: to plow or not to plow

Postby Gino Bruno » Sat Sep 18, 2010 10:05 pm

thanks, jim!

i can get a solid 10" without any issues.... more on recently worked soil. what kind of final depth should i shoot for? the only issue i have with the tiller is that the unworked soil is HARD as a rock and has already worked on the tines pretty well. i'd imagine that i'll have to replace them soon. :cry:
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Re: to plow or not to plow

Postby Stykshooter » Sun Sep 19, 2010 12:36 am

We used to turn the soil over, and then do it again a month or so later. Till it all up and then seed and fertilize it, then run over it all with a cultipacker.

The last several years we have been just spraying the fields with a herbicide and then once it is all dead using a no til dril to groove the soil for the clover seeds. It actually seems to work better than the old method and you don't deal with any of the run off of erosion that happens when you plow the field. Works especially well if you want to put a patch in on a steep hill side.

When we plowed and planted we always planted buckwheat with the clover as it came up fast and shielded the young clover plants. No need to do that when you go no til. The local Southern States has several of the drills that you can rent to put a field in.
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Re: to plow or not to plow

Postby Gino Bruno » Sun Sep 19, 2010 1:10 am

i saw a 6 foot drill on craigslist about a month ago but was a day late. :evil: i really like the idea and love how accurate it is. the guy that farms all the ground around here does the no till but when all the booms are out, it is about 90 feet wide..... hooked to the 300hp tractor, he is 130feet long. :shock:

so the drilling works well on hills? makes it that much more attractive to me.

thanks for the info!!!
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Re: to plow or not to plow

Postby Stone Knife » Fri Jan 28, 2011 4:06 pm

Don't use a harrow to put it will put it too deep, use a cultipacker or a heavy roller.
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Re: to plow or not to plow

Postby topcamp » Fri Jan 28, 2011 4:44 pm

clovers you could just frost seed next month ..............then just use post and sley or it's generic to keep the junk down................but make sure your ph is good .........if not you best bang for the buck with clovers will be liming the hell out of your plot...............i always just broadcast clover on top........if i've done a burn down before i sow.......then i will lay the burn down on top of the seed after i broadcast it in............

works with clover......used to work when i would put in winter wheat........cow peas.......oats ..........now the the damn turkeys eat all the big seeds long before i can get any of them up.................just broadcasting. clover is to damn hard for them to peck at..................you ever see what a 243 will do to a seed eating turkey from a pissed off plot planter............. :o :twisted:
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Re: to plow or not to plow

Postby Gino Bruno » Mon Feb 14, 2011 2:56 am

topcamp wrote:you ever see what a 243 will do to a seed eating turkey from a pissed off plot planter............. :o :twisted:



i'd imagine about the same thing a .22-250 does? :twisted:
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