Advice on tilling food plots? disc vs. plow vs. cultivator

   / Advice on tilling food plots? disc vs. plow vs. cultivator #1  

HCJ

Silver Member
Joined
Sep 27, 2004
Messages
208
Location
upstate South Carolina
Tractor
Kubota M6800 4WD
Any advice on making food plot preparation easier? I have a M 6800 Kubota and a 20 X 20 disc harrow which weighs around 700 lbs. We plant about 20 plots of various sizes, some tend to be a little rocky. Some have clay. Others are good riverbottom soil. We usually plant in early fall and plant a mix of wheat, oats, clover, rye, and some peas. My biggest problem is that even with a heavy disc, it just won't penetrate the existing vegetation. We bush hog it first, but the remnants of grasses from the previous year and the tough roots will not allow the disc to turn the soil over unless we make 6 or 8 passes. Usually the soil is very dry in the summer when we start breaking the soil up, so we have to wait for rain to soften the soil to get an adequate result. Problem is it just doesn't rain much here this time of year and we seem never to time our discing just right, and it take forever.

My question is should we get a plow or a field cultivator to break up the soil first? Or a scarifier. Would this speed things up and allow us to till without waiting for softer soil? If so, what plow or what field cultivator would be appropriate for this 68 hp tractor. I also wonder if raking it first may help. But I have no rake, just a disc. Before I buy and try other implements, what do you guys recommend. My main goal is to till these plots as quickly as possible, as you all know, spending days at the hunting property makes for an irate wife.

So I am considering a plow, or maybe a Fred Cain field cultivator, and have also wondered where a good heavy pulverizer or cultipacker would help to finish things off.

Of course, it would be nice to not spend a fortune.
 
   / Advice on tilling food plots? disc vs. plow vs. cultivator #2  
You might have more success with the disc if you kill off the vegetation first with roundup a month or so before discing. I dont use any chemicals at all on my own food plots, prefering to keep things "organic". I plow all my plots in the spring when the moisture content is just right. I then disc them up 3-4 passes and put in my spring plots of corn (where I live that is all deer care about during hunting season) on some of them between May 15-30. I leave the other plots that are intended for fall plots go until mid June, then disc them again and put in bucwheat as a cover crop which builds the soil and controlls weeds. In the late summer, I disc the buckwheat and put in my fall plots of white clover which I plant mainly as a nitrogen builder and weed controller (3-4 years until corn goes in) and brassicas which are a hit or miss deal most years. I am way up north, on the Canadian border and have rich, deep, dark bottomland soil, so I am not sure how my methods will work on that red southern clay down where you are. I am extremely blessed to have soil that never needs lime and very little fertilizer to provide very good crop yields.
 
   / Advice on tilling food plots? disc vs. plow vs. cultivator #3  
How about a rotoary tiller. If the rocks are not to be big then you can flat out chew up some ground with a tiller.
 
   / Advice on tilling food plots? disc vs. plow vs. cultivator #4  
We had the same problem at our club which is on a rock quarry. One thing that helped was to add about 900lbs to the disk. Also use my hyd top link to lift the back gang off the ground and cut deep with the front gang. Better to do this after a rain. Also, I would mow the weeds down to less then 8".

It get easier w/ each passing season.
 
   / Advice on tilling food plots? disc vs. plow vs. cultivator #5  
Spray it with roundup a month before, then mow it then disk it. Shoul work great.
 
   / Advice on tilling food plots? disc vs. plow vs. cultivator #6  
We have had mixed results with mowing before discing. We typically use rotary cutter to cut the plots to knock down any small trees trying to come back.Often it seems the grass piles up and is hard to cut through even with a heavy 8' 3PT disc. One of the best methods we have used is to plow a fire lane around it and burn it off. If the grass is good and dry when the burn is complete the dirt is bare.
 
   / Advice on tilling food plots? disc vs. plow vs. cultivator
  • Thread Starter
#7  
We had the same problem at our club which is on a rock quarry. One thing that helped was to add about 900lbs to the disk. Also use my hyd top link to lift the back gang off the ground and cut deep with the front gang. Better to do this after a rain. Also, I would mow the weeds down to less then 8".

It get easier w/ each passing season.

Thanks. I have considered adding weight, but was afraid this would promote broken discs. I have broken 3 or 4 in the last few years. Do you have that problem? Our plots can sometimes be rocky. I have learned to not turn with the disc in the ground as this seems to cause breakages. I just ordered a hydraulic top link so I can try that.
 
   / Advice on tilling food plots? disc vs. plow vs. cultivator
  • Thread Starter
#8  
How about a rotoary tiller. If the rocks are not to be big then you can flat out chew up some ground with a tiller.

Yes, a tiller seems to be a possible solution, but a good heavy duty one is pretty pricey. Which one do you use? Is that all you use? Do you use a drag harrow afterwards?
 
   / Advice on tilling food plots? disc vs. plow vs. cultivator #9  
Just bought a Hardee 84 (Co. from Loris SC) Tiller. Seems very well built but I spoke to Hardee and all they do is rebadge it. We are in the process of recaliming powerlines for food plots. Several small trees( 2-4") and many old stumps. I mow, then at least 2 passes with disk, 1 shank subsoil, that till and to level for the drill we use a spike harrow. Alsong the way I pick up stumps and roots brought to the surface from all of the above.

And yes I have bent disk axels and blades. Send me a PM if you every want to see this in person.
 
   / Advice on tilling food plots? disc vs. plow vs. cultivator #10  
I planted food plots for years around the Union, Lockhart area and will tell you that that soil is rough on equipment. We, alot of times spent more time working on the equipment that planting. What we found that worked best was bush hog the week before then use a cultivator (old type with springed spikes installed) to break up the soil. We would cris-cross the field with the cultivator then hit it with the disc with extra weight added to it. Then we would brodcast the seed and let the 4 wheelers pull chain link fence over the field to cover up the seed. Where I now hunt and plant foodplots is aroung Wagener, SC and there just a good bushogging and a disc will do the job. But if it is wet you can sink a tractor, ask me how I know, LOL I still mostly hunt the Woods Ferry Public area and just hunt around white oaks.
 
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