Thursday, May 26, 2016

Field Tillage: Disks

Disks had a set of curved steel wheels mounted on a shaft called a gang. Each gang was mounted at about 22-degrees. I checked all three vintages that I post here and the front gangs pushed the soil out while the back gangs pushed it back in.

Rylan L. Carr posted
This unit is representative of the technology in the middle of the 20th century. Each wheel had a "paddle" on the back side to scrape of any soil sticking to the wheel.
20141013 0017
John Jasiulevicius posted
A an obviously older unit that hasn't been used for a while.
The reason for the trays on top was to hold rocks so that the weight would help push the disks into the ground. Note that the edge of the field provides plenty of rocks to use. That poor farmer was like my Grandfather --- after he started working another farm, plowing was slow because he spent a lot of his time carrying away rocks that the plow had hit. And evidently freeze-thaw cycles would push more rocks towards the surface because it took a few years before he got the fields clean of rocks.

John Deere 2625 taken from a brochure
Tractors and fields grew bigger, so disks grew bigger. The frames grew bigger to keep the shafts on an angle. But the roads did not grow bigger. So a significant aspect of disk design became the use of hydraulic rams to fold the frame for transport.

Taken from a John Deere brochure
Video of a 10' IHC double-action disk. Modern JD video teaches that ground temperature needs to be above 50 degrees before 9am before corn can be planted. A better one because it shows unfolding. This disking is before fertilizing to smooth out the chiseled bean field and the previous one was to disk the fertilizer in and make it really smooth for the corn planter.

Here is a series of pictures I took of a disk at the John Deere dealer where I got the brochures. I introduced myself to a dealer, and he spent time with me even though I was up front about I would not be buying anything. In fact, he suggested that I help myself to as many of their brochures as I wanted. He also taught me that primary tillage was done in the Fall and secondary tillage was done in the Spring.

20141013 0020, Side
Close up of front

Several hydraulic
circuits to fold and
control depth
The A-F adjustment is "hydraulic fore-aft leveling."
The more I looked, the more rams I found. The two on the sides fold the outer wings onto the middle wings. The one by the staggered wheels helps raise it out of the ground when making the turns at the ends of the field.
John Deere has you pull the reels behind your disk or cultivator. You can tell this is newer technology because the terminology is still in flux. John Deere talks about "rolling baskets" instead of  "reels." The reels put the larger soil particles on top and finer soil particles in the seed zone. If you look at the second picture of the Kuhn Krause posting, you will see clods being flung above the soil so that they will land on top. I suspect this device works well only at the higher field speeds of modern, high-horsepower tillage of around 10mph.
Screenshot from video
Video of a Versatile 260 pulling a disk. This is the first Versatile I've seen that is not articulated. I wonder if they are rebranding someone else's "smaller" tractor. The drone is handling a very windy day. It looks like he is overlapping at least three feet. That seems excessive.

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