From the Ground Up Blog

Plowing & Tillage... Mid-Winter Thoughts

Well we just came off from a bitter cold snap that we have not seen in a while here in the Northeast. For a couple days temperatures did not get out of the single digits. It is perfect weather for grabbing your seed catalogs and dreaming of spring. These catalogs are a work of art and as a grower, it gives me a VIP pass to the work breeders have been working on for years. I find it important to take the time and read the descriptions carefully so I can get the best package possible to fit my operation. The new varieties catch my attention because I like to try at least 4 or 5 new items each year. These new items will give me talking points with my customer base at the markets this coming summer.

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This weekend I will be traveling about 45 miles from my farm to attend a farm auction in hopes of buying a 5 bottom plow I have my eyes on. I like the Kneverland brand made in Norway. These are traditional moldboard plows that pull very easily and do a good job getting the trash turned under. I have a 5 bottom now that I’ve had for about 20 years. I pull it with my 7120 Magnum. I do a fair amount of cover cropping so I need to turn that top growth under so it can start breaking down. I am assuming the plow will not bring too much because most all the big grain farmers in the area are going to chisel plowing or zone building. Reduced tillage methods have their place but at the same time it is difficult to get a clean seedbed for planting fine seeds or using plastic mulch.

Plowing Field
My New Year’s resolution is going to be better organized to save valuable time in the spring. One item on my check list is to spend a few hours replenishing my bolt bin. How many times have you looked for a certain size bolt or nut only to be running to town and getting the right size? So I am making a list and getting my bolt, nut & washer supply replenished before winter is over! I may spend a hundred dollars or so now, but I know how valuable my time is in the spring when I’m trying to get a crop in and rain is coming and I don’t have time to hop in the truck and waste 30 minutes roundtrip to town & back.

As I write this I have already thought of a few other items like some extra lynch pins and clip pins for the hitch pins. Sound familiar? Glad I'm not the only one. I would like to hear from other growers on your thoughts on tillage and how you prepare your soils for planting.