Thursday, May 26, 2016

Field Tillage: Modern Primary and Secondary

Rylan L. Carr posted, John Deere No. 51
A topic I have been thinking about since I started this blog is the history of field tillage starting with the moldboard plow. At first, I could not find any. Now I've found and taken a lot of pictures, and I have to figure out how to organize a discussion. Also, there are now multiple thoughts on how much tillage should be done. Although using a moldboard plow each year has been obsolete for decades.

I'm going to take advantage of the nature of a blog and write small postings on various aspects of tillage. Specifically, I'm going to dig into what I learned one farmer does from a video.

The video shows a Versatile 575 tractor using a 40' Kuhn Krause Excelerator (discussed below) for secondary, or Spring, tillage near Wyatt Indiana. The comment indicates they used a Kuhn Krause Dominator in the Fall for the primary, or Fall, tillage.

I start the video at a turn because big equipment turning at the end of the runs is more interesting then the runs themselves. (You can always restart it from the beginning if you want.) At the end of the turn you can see the soil conditioning reels before they are lowered back down on the ground. But one thing we do learn from watching the runs is the high speed used by modern farming. I'd estimate 10mph. These higher speeds allow taking advantage of higher horsepower without making the implement bigger. But when I drove tractors in the 1960s, we would not dream of going that fast in the field. Most tractors could do a maximum of 15 mph, and that was on a road. In a field, a brisk walking speed was considered fast. Tractors don't have springs except for under the seat. Even at just a walking speed, you could get bounced pretty bad in a field of harvested corn. Evidently the weight of the tractor and the soft footprint of all the tires reduce the amount of bouncing the frame (and driver) experience and allow faster field speeds. (An Excelerator unfolding and then runningVersatile DT550 pulling an Excelerator.)

Many times fertilizer will be sprayed, or manure spread, on the field before the secondary tillage. The secondary tillage helps "incorporate" the additives into the soil. (The word "incorporate" came from a John Deere brochure. I believe it mans it mixes whatever has been applied on top of the ground into the soil.)

Dominator 4855-13
Fortunately, I found this video about the Dominator before I wrote some text. At 0:51 note the big springs on each of the primary deep tillage shanks. The springs allow the shanks to momentarily come up out of the ground if they hit a rock. Skipping a spot is better than breaking the unit. A video with a side view and a turnA video of a Versatile 550DT pulling the widest Dominator of 19.5'. The reason why primary tillage implements are about half the width of secondary tillage implements and run slower is because it takes a lot of horsepower (and traction) to pull those deep tillage shanks through the ground.

Excelerator 8000-50
Curt also does a video that explains the Excelerator. Then I found a Kuhn Krause video that explains the Excelerator and shows how their largest, 50', folds for transport.

The Excelerator mounts the discs on short shafts called gangs. Each gang hangs from a bracket and the bracket can be adjusted from 1 to 5 degrees. It has working widths of 14-50'.
Click "Adjustable Gang Angles" in description
Screenshot from video
A video of three rows of vertical cutters, some harrow teeth, and then reels throwing the dirt and clods pretty high (Maschio). Later they unfold a planter and do both secondary tillage and planting in the field. Then they fold the tillage implement for road transport.
Screenshot from video
What does he do when he meets oncoming traffic? Go into the ditch? I counted at least 36 rows on the corn planter. There is more than one planter being shown because it switched from green to blue and GPS to marker. At 16:40, a quad-track is pulling a disk. A disk is not modern tillage.

A report lists what different manufactures have to offer as a vertical tillage solution.

Screenshot from video
Screenshot from Combines Harvesters Threshers video
Carrier tillage cruising
I am dumfounded by how fast they are pulling that thing. But I gather that the baskets/reels at the end require highs speed to fling the clods on top as intended.]

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