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How to plow a field

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Negligence
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PostPosted: Fri Aug 27, 2010 2:03 pm    Post subject: How to plow a field Reply to specific post Reply with quote

I'm new to farming (no family background in it, I'm just learning as I go) so I don't really know how one plows a field with a regular plow (not a reversible/rollover type). I bought a large tractor and a 4 furrow plow, now I just need to get out there.

Obviously it doesn't make sense to plow a field in one direction only because of the time spent looping back around to make the next pass. So how do you do it?

I thought of splitting the field in half -- and plowing the opposite direction on each side, so there would be a crown in the middle of the field. But I'm sure there's a better, tried-and-true method that will be simple for a new farmer to try.

Looking for the oldtimers on this one!
 
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Phil in Pa
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PostPosted: Fri Aug 27, 2010 2:38 pm    Post subject: Re: How to plow a field Reply to specific post Reply with quote

We used to do both ways you describe.

Splitting the field in half, either plowing in to center or out to edges. The next time the field is plowed in a year or more, you plow the opposite way of the last time to keep the low furrows filled in.

I also plowed one way like you're describing, driving back one way with the plow up, in steeper fields. Just doing what I was told there, I didn't really get the logic.
 
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camju
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PostPosted: Fri Aug 27, 2010 2:54 pm    Post subject: Re: How to plow a field Reply to specific post Reply with quote

We always made a strike out every hundred or so feet.If the feild isn't to big then cuting it in half as you mentioned works well.Then next year you would start on the outside of the feild throwing the dirt out and work your way to the middle.

The further apart you make your strike outs the longer you drive with out plowing.
 
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GRJ
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PostPosted: Fri Aug 27, 2010 2:58 pm    Post subject: Re: How to plow a field Reply to specific post Reply with quote

You didn't give the shape of your field. That will make a difference.What you described is a backfurrow.Larger rectangle or square fields should be layed out in lands. Meaning plowing first a backfurrow land then moving over a distance to another backfurrow land.After this you then plow out the deadfurrow land between them.Next year you will plow a backfurrow land where the deadfurrow was this year and this years backfurrow land should end up with a deadfurrow.I'm sure this is clear as mud to you,so I suggest you find an oldtimer in the neighborhood and have him physically show you how to lay these out.
 
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BushogPapa
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PostPosted: Fri Aug 27, 2010 3:03 pm    Post subject: Re: How to plow a field Reply to specific post Reply with quote


We need to know just size your field is, to give you much of an answer...

If you have a 4 bottom plow, I would figure at least 75 Paces to the Center of the land..less or even more depending on the size of the field..
If the field is large enough, you strike 2 Head-lands and once they are plowed, finish by plowing the center until you have just ONE Dead-furrow..
You will need to know how to adjust the plow for striking a Head-land, and also for plowing the Dead-furrow shut..
Just what equipment do you have..someone may be able to give more info..

Ron.
 
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Negligence
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PostPosted: Fri Aug 27, 2010 3:14 pm    Post subject: Re: How to plow a field Reply to specific post Reply with quote

Most of the fields are rectangular, no greater than 15-30 acres in size. Some are square but those are smaller (5ac).

The plow I'm getting is an International 46 4-bottom. Just a cheap oldy. Being pulled by a Fiat 130-90 (4wd)
 


Last edited by Negligence on Fri Aug 27, 2010 3:15 pm; edited 1 time in total
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gordy from Iowa
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PostPosted: Fri Aug 27, 2010 3:17 pm    Post subject: Re: How to plow a field Reply to specific post Reply with quote

Easy way is to sell the plow. Mother nature hasn't plowed in several thousand years, and didn't have any trouble growing crops. Hire somebody to plant your field no-till. You will increase organic matter, increase water infiltration, stop erosion, and not create a hard pan that you can't drive a nail through.

You can do your own spraying with a four wheeler. Actually, a plow looks good on a mound of rocks in the front yard. Paint it up pretty.
 
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Jimmy King
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PostPosted: Fri Aug 27, 2010 3:22 pm    Post subject: Re: How to plow a field Reply to specific post Reply with quote

It always depended on what we were going to sow or plant. Hay or small grains we went around the field always throwing the dirt out, then you would have a short dead furrow in the center, loop the corners. For row crops we laid in off in lands, a field a quarter wide would lay off 4 or 5 lands. Leave the headland until last.
 
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Negligence
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PostPosted: Fri Aug 27, 2010 3:23 pm    Post subject: Re: How to plow a field Reply to specific post Reply with quote

The no-till comment got me thinking - I'm trying to reclaim some fields from serious weeds and replant them in hay. I was under the impression the moldboard plow was my best bet, as simply discing or chisel plowing will leave lots of remnants on the surface. Is this true?

I'm looking to recover the fields as cheaply as possible (i.e. not buying expensive tillage equipment), but I do not want to pay someone else to do it. Need to learn sometime.
 
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camju
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PostPosted: Fri Aug 27, 2010 3:37 pm    Post subject: Re: How to plow a field Reply to specific post Reply with quote

no-till is ok if you want to spray but if your organic or don't want to spend alot of money in chemicals you have to work the feild.I still beleive that you benafit greatly by doing alittle summer fallow once in a while.Sea gulls love you for it and you get to know the land and don't become "just another farmer".
 
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buickanddeere
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PostPosted: Fri Aug 27, 2010 3:37 pm    Post subject: Re: How to plow a field Reply to specific post Reply with quote

Some money saving farmer was no-tilling my farm for 30+ years without mouldboard ploughing.
Every time it rained the fields were lakes of water on top of a solid impervious layer. Water would lay on the surface for days until the sun and wind evaporated it away.
I've deep V-ripped the place twice now with a single shank JD 22B ripper equipped with a 10" wide tip. Tractor is 50HP and weighs 7500lbs. That hard blue clay would stall or spin out the tractor in 3rd gear depending. If I shortened the top link and made the ripper "lift" the soil.
The tractor also struggled with a mounted 3X16" plough after the fields were ripped. The soil rolled over in rock hard clods the size of foot balls.
So unless you farm sand or light loam soil. Forget about no or limited till.
 
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mjbrown
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PostPosted: Fri Aug 27, 2010 4:20 pm    Post subject: Re: How to plow a field Reply to specific post Reply with quote

If you split the field in half like you are thinking, you strike out for the far end. You might want to pace it off on the far end and put a stick in the ground with a strip of cloth on it to aim for. When you get to the end raise the plow, turn around and go back laying the first bottom furrow next to the one from the first trip. Where the first furrows lay together is called a back furrow. For this first round you adjust the plow so that the first bottom is plowing kind of shallow so you don't have a huge back furrow. Plow around and around this land until it is as far across the land as it is to the edge of the field then plow the land between the first land and the edge of the field when you finish that it will have a dead furrow in the center of that land. Then go do the other land on the other side of the field again ending with a dead furrow in the middle of that land. Splitting the field in the middle first like that will give you three lands, one with a back furrow in the middle and two with dead furrows in the middle.
At the end of it all you plow off the headlands. If you make your turns by going a bit past the furrow and swinging back to line up you can avoid a sweeping curve in the ends of the furrow.
Good luck.
 
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RodinNS
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PostPosted: Fri Aug 27, 2010 5:25 pm    Post subject: Re: How to plow a field Reply to specific post Reply with quote

I usually split a field off in lands about 100-200' wide. Make something like 10 trips down and back, then start a new land. You can do more but then you spend more time driving on the headland. I also generally leave the width of the headland on each side of the field and then plow them out with the headlands... just so I don't have to do a bunch of needless driving on the headlands.... but it depends on the field. Just figure out what works for you and make it red.

Rod
 
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James22
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PostPosted: Fri Aug 27, 2010 6:22 pm    Post subject: Re: How to plow a field Reply to specific post Reply with quote

No, not a better way. If you don't have a two-way/reversible plow or plow one direction only and return dead-headed you are going to have dead furrows (ditch) and back furrows (mound). Some do plow around a field on all sides working toward the center, but after several years you have made a bowl.
 
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Tom Schnitzler
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PostPosted: Fri Aug 27, 2010 6:30 pm    Post subject: Re: How to plow a field Reply to specific post Reply with quote

I don't know where you are but in wisconsin, we have what you call frost and it loosens the ground, my best corn is on no-till. The plowed ground got so wet I almost got stuck in some spots. If you do plow make sure it is in the fall! One great saying, "If you don't plow in the fall don't plow at all".
 
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