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Country Discussion Topics
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Rototilling vs Discing
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Dennis    Posted 12-14-2002 at 09:18:56       [Reply]  [No Email]
In ya'lls experience is discing as good as rototilling the land in preperation for a garden or small acerage of "crops" (not MJ)?

What about the depth factor of each?

Dennis    Posted 12-15-2002 at 05:58:20       [Reply]  [Send Email]
Thank you all for your inputs of experiences, I think I will rototill.
Thanks again and ya'll have a greatweek.

Burrhead    Posted 12-14-2002 at 13:26:31       [Reply]  [No Email]
I would listen to what Fawteen is talking about. No matter how you prepare the soil the standard rule is that when it's finished and you walk thru the soil, if you make a track with your foot that measures over 1" deep at your sole mark the soil is too fine.

That's right on getting the soil too fine with a tiller.

The hardpan is still gonna form no matter how you prepare the soil, it's gonna form at the depth yer tilling to or plowing to either one.

That's why ye take a chisel or subsoiler ever 2-3 years and run thru the fields at 2' depth or so.

As far as weeds coming back in it dooes'nt matter if you til, plow or flip it over with a teaspoon the weeds will come back until you choke or poison them out.

Mike D.    Posted 12-14-2002 at 11:55:01       [Reply]  [No Email]
Thanks for posting this question. I have always wondered about the impact of overtilling. We are looking into a used Howard Rotovator to go over our hay fields to prepare for reseed. I like the idea of going at it once prior to seeding, but as sure as I'm breathing, I would probably have overtilled if I hadn't read all the way through this group of posts.

Darryl (Mo)    Posted 12-14-2002 at 09:41:51       [Reply]  [No Email]
Hi Dennis,

Disclaimer -- I'm most definately NOT a tillage expert but I've seen & heard...... When you say garden or small acerage I'm going to assume you're ruling out big bazillion-acres/hr. equipment. With small-scale machinery I think that rototilling mixes materials into the soil better. Most small-scale-appropriate discs are too light to really dig stuff in. Both help avoid the plowpans that can result from conventional plowing at the same depth over time. To deal with 'acreage' though, a disc should be much faster if time is a major factor. Is the rototilling option a tractor-mounted tiller or a smaller walkbehind?

Dennis    Posted 12-14-2002 at 09:52:37       [Reply]  [Send Email]
Hi Darryl,
The acreage I'm talking about is approx 3 total and it would be with a 3pt tractor mounted rototiller.

Ron/PA    Posted 12-14-2002 at 10:05:37       [Reply]  [No Email]
Dennis, What will you pull the tiller with? What kind of tractor?

Dennis    Posted 12-14-2002 at 10:50:52       [Reply]  [Send Email]
I will be using a JD 1010 30 HP Utility tractor.

Ron/PA    Posted 12-14-2002 at 09:33:50       [Reply]  [Send Email]
Dennis, it is hard to beat rototilling for ground preperation, A good tiller will turn topsoil to coffe grounds. The better the soil is tilled the better chance the plants have to gain a start.
Weeds start best in compacted soil, thats why we used to cultivate the spaces, and spray the rows. Depth requirements depend on your soil. If you have sandy soil, all you need is enough to plant, however if you have a heavy compacted soil you may need to plow to break up the sod.
A disc, will do ok if you can go over the ground enough times to get the depth. It will also turn the soil to a fine powder if you do it enough.
All in all it will depend on your soil and how long it has been since it was last turned.
Hope this helps

Fawteen    Posted 12-14-2002 at 11:23:36       [Reply]  [No Email]
I use a Howard rototiller behind my JD 750. As you say, it does a MARVELOUS job of turning under amendments/compost and prepares a nice seedbed.

Two observations, however:

1. I respectfully disagree with your statement regarding hardpan. Hardpan (as I understand it) has more to do with the weight of the equipment running over the soil compacting it. While traditional moldboard plowing certainly adds to the problem from consistently plowing to the same depth, as you say, so does a tiller. About every 2nd or 3rd year in the fall, I turn over my garden with a plow to break up the pan from tilling.

2. There's such a thing as too fine a tilth, allowing the soil to pack too densely, eliminating the air spaces and making it difficult for young roots to get started. As nice as the super-fine tilth LOOKS, I'm not convinced it's a good idea, and try to restrict myself to one trip over the garden in the spring before planting.

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