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  1. #1
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    BCS 722

    Default 20 to 26 inch BCS Tiller "conversion"

    From the photos I've seen it looks like the BCS 26" tiller is just a 20" with the cover slid out and two outside tines bolted on. Do they sell this as a conversion kit?

  2. #2
    Platinum Member farmerboybill's Avatar
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    Default Re: 20 to 26 inch BCS Tiller "conversion"

    Hey Letca,

    First, let me say that putting a wider tiller on is not always the best method. I have found that a 26 inch tiller doesn't penetrate as effectively as a 20 inch. In good soil conditions, each is as effective as the other. If the ground is hard or has a lot of vegetation, a 20 inch tiller outperforms a 26 inch and a 26 inch outperforms a 30 inch. I had an 18 inch here that I'd throw on my 850 diesel in the worst conditions and it'd chew through, but then I sold it :-(

    That said, yes you can easily stretch the tiller to 26 inch, BUT it'll require a few rather expensive hub extensions. Last I checked, they were $75 each. I have a used set here I'd sell. After you stretch the the shroud as you mentioned, you bolt the hubs on and bolt two tines on each side to achieve 26 inches. When you unbolt the tines to put the hubs on, make sure you take note of how they came apart. It's not difficult to figure it out after the fact, but it can be frustrating.

    You may also want to consider the condition of your current tines. It they're pointy, they're worn out. If they're close to pointy, they're very tired. You can get away with tired tines on the very outside, but the four inner tines that go around the gearbox HAVE to be in very good condition.

    How'd those duals work out?
    BCS 850 w/ Kohler Diesel, 30" tiller, 18 inch combined ridger, 36" dozer blade, 28" snow thrower, BCS BIO100 chipper, blade, 38" mower, 26 inch rough cut mower, 36 inch sickle, trencher, 2 way plow, ridger, hiller/furrower

    Deere 60, 3010, 3020, 4010, 4020, 4430, 4640, 4840 and all the implements to work 'em

  3. #3
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    BCS 722

    Default Re: 20 to 26 inch BCS Tiller "conversion"

    Thanks for the input. Sounds like I'd be better off sticking with my current setup. The dual tires are wonderful. The machine has less tendency to dig itstelf into a hole when tilling. Tomato Garden - 2011 - Leon Taylor's Photos

    This link has a set of photos, the first of which is my tiller in its current configuration.

    Quote Originally Posted by farmerboybill View Post
    Hey Letca,

    First, let me say that putting a wider tiller on is not always the best method. I have found that a 26 inch tiller doesn't penetrate as effectively as a 20 inch. In good soil conditions, each is as effective as the other. If the ground is hard or has a lot of vegetation, a 20 inch tiller outperforms a 26 inch and a 26 inch outperforms a 30 inch. I had an 18 inch here that I'd throw on my 850 diesel in the worst conditions and it'd chew through, but then I sold it :-(

    That said, yes you can easily stretch the tiller to 26 inch, BUT it'll require a few rather expensive hub extensions. Last I checked, they were $75 each. I have a used set here I'd sell. After you stretch the the shroud as you mentioned, you bolt the hubs on and bolt two tines on each side to achieve 26 inches. When you unbolt the tines to put the hubs on, make sure you take note of how they came apart. It's not difficult to figure it out after the fact, but it can be frustrating.

    You may also want to consider the condition of your current tines. It they're pointy, they're worn out. If they're close to pointy, they're very tired. You can get away with tired tines on the very outside, but the four inner tines that go around the gearbox HAVE to be in very good condition.

    How'd those duals work out?

  4. #4
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    Default Re: 20 to 26 inch BCS Tiller "conversion"

    Why till so deeply? It could the be the recipe for creating serious hardpan. There is a school of thought recommending to only till the organic matter into the soil at the top 3 or 4 inches where it is loose enough not to form a hardpan as the tiller tine sweeps across the bottom of the travel path. I had a conversation last year with Joel of Earthtools and he pointed out how a tiller when it sweeps across the underside creates a hardpan zone as it compacts the soil much like a butter knife being pulled across a room temperature stick of butter. This helps explain why rotary plows and power harrows are becoming more popular with commercial growers.

    I grew up on a farm in the 60s where we plowed as deeply as possible. We did not know any different. The low till revolution has proven minimal tillage is ok. I rip up my garden area every two to three years with a rotary plow as its tiny point creates very little soil wiping action. I use the tiller just enough to get the previous crop mass mixed so as to make a seed bed.

    Here is a good explanation: http://www.aces.edu/dept/extcomm/spe...eb28ggard.html

    Bill in NC
    Last edited by wstr75; 06-06-2011 at 11:14 AM.

  5. #5
    Platinum Member farmerboybill's Avatar
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    Default Re: 20 to 26 inch BCS Tiller "conversion"

    Bill, you make some valid points. Most people till too deep and too often. Those same people tend to go into the garden when it's too wet and can create hardpan. Proper use of a tiller is more than knowing HOW to use the machine, it's about knowing WHEN to use it. Too-wet conditions and overuse are the number 1 & 2 factor in creating hardpan. However, when I till very hard ground, my 30 inch tiller sometimes barely scratches the surface. If I had a 20 inch tiller to mount, I could get down to the 4-5 inches that should be worked. It's better to till once to your desired depth than to make multiple passes. On top of creating hardpan, rototilling hurts soil structure. Multiple passes destroy it. I cringe when I see people talking about making 3 and 4 passes across the same ground every year.

    I mostly do my deep tillage with a double rotary plow (or much larger deere tractors), but the cost of a rotary plow is beyond what people can or are willing to afford. The second-best option is to keep your tiller to the narrowest width you can stand and make your full-depth in one pass
    BCS 850 w/ Kohler Diesel, 30" tiller, 18 inch combined ridger, 36" dozer blade, 28" snow thrower, BCS BIO100 chipper, blade, 38" mower, 26 inch rough cut mower, 36 inch sickle, trencher, 2 way plow, ridger, hiller/furrower

    Deere 60, 3010, 3020, 4010, 4020, 4430, 4640, 4840 and all the implements to work 'em

  6. #6
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    Default Re: 20 to 26 inch BCS Tiller "conversion"

    Bill, I ordered a 47" wide 3-pt hitch Tortella spader from Joel at Earthtools and hope to get it later this month. It is being shipped in from Italy. It is my Christmas gift to myself for the next three years. I am itching to try it out in my garden areas and to do some older folks gardens in my town. I travel on business several times every month and there have been years the garden did not get planted until June because of wet conditions. The spader enables tillage without soil structure destruction no matter the wetness or dryness.

    Will post some pictures as to how it performs. To make sure it fits the BCS forum, I will also have some BCS equipment seen in the photo. By the way, Joel was significantly less expensive than buying the Tortella through other dealers here in the USA.
    Bill in NC

  7. #7
    Platinum Member farmerboybill's Avatar
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    Default Re: 20 to 26 inch BCS Tiller "conversion"

    Hey Bill,

    At the risk of hijacking Letca's post -

    Those spaders are pretty impressive. I friend of mine has a Tortella on a Grillo 131d. He let me run it a couple weeks ago. You run that bad boy at just above an idle in 1st gear and it does a bang-up job of working the ground without overworking the ground. Eric's told me he's gone out immediately after a rainstorm and worked ground with it. There's very little chance the weeds will wrap in the mechanism like they can with a rototiller. BUT it's very heavy and and needs a very heavy tractor with weights mounted on the engine. The 131 is the only machine that can handle it well (a BCS 948 is really only an 853 with a third PTO stud and gear reduction). It also has a very high price point for anyone but the most serious market gardener.

    I can't wait to hear your review.

    Bill
    BCS 850 w/ Kohler Diesel, 30" tiller, 18 inch combined ridger, 36" dozer blade, 28" snow thrower, BCS BIO100 chipper, blade, 38" mower, 26 inch rough cut mower, 36 inch sickle, trencher, 2 way plow, ridger, hiller/furrower

    Deere 60, 3010, 3020, 4010, 4020, 4430, 4640, 4840 and all the implements to work 'em

  8. #8
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    Default Re: 20 to 26 inch BCS Tiller "conversion"

    I had Joel ask the Tortella folks what size spader for my Antonio Carraro TTR 4400 tractor and they said 47" was the max. I was interested in the 53" wide spader so as to cover the full width of the wheel track. The issue was not hydraulic lift capacity or PTO horsepower, rather it was the mass of the tractor and the ability to "hold back" the spader. A wider spader would push the 2400 pound tractor and also make for a rock and roll kind of ride. The two wheel tractor Tortella unit digs about 8" max. depth. My spader is 10" max. depth. The heaviest series is 12 - 14" max. depth. 8" is plenty deep for good tillage.
    Bill in NC

  9. #9
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    Default Re: 20 to 26 inch BCS Tiller "conversion"

    Been thinking about this a lot recently. I know some soils hardpan quite easily and working them wet can really cause a problem. But I'm not convinced that tilling deep is always a bad thing. We till as deep as possible with the 4-wheel tractor in the spring for our initial tilling, then often re-till lightly with the bcs for planing, and occasionally use light tilling for weed control.

    We rotate our crops through the gardens so we don't plant the same thing like potatoes over and over. I've always went as deep a possible for potatoes, then deeper and deeper each time we mound them up for more dirt. Then we use the 4 wheel tractor with a plow to harvest them, this is also our yearly rock and small bolder harvest.

    Seems to me in order to create hard pan you'd have to do one, or more, of the following.

    1)Till or plow wet and compress the soil.

    2)Till or plow repetitive at the same depth, or right on top of a existing hard pan adding more compressed soil on top of the existing hard pan.

    3)Drive heavy equipment over it often, or when wet.

    Am I missing something here? I always figured that if we were creating hardpan, we should be tearing it up quite well when the potatoes get planted there.

    Thanks
    Cory

    PS if you want compacted soil, have a road crew park a dozer and backhoe in your garden for a week.

  10. #10
    Platinum Member farmerboybill's Avatar
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    Default Re: 20 to 26 inch BCS Tiller "conversion"

    Hey Cory,

    Yes, yes, and yes. Deep tillage isn't the cause of hardpan. What causes hardpan is the weight of the equipment used in the tillage. In order to get the material above the plow to lift up, the machine doing the lifting has to push down below it. Moldboard plows are the biggest case and point. As the plow crosses the ground, it's covering every square inch of the soil. Tillers, while less so, can cause hardpan as well. As the tine pushes the soil above it up, it's pushing the soil below it down. Wet conditions make this much worse.

    Now, as Bill in NC says, there's a lot of evidence that you don't really have to tear up and mix the soil much below 4 or 5 inches. That level is where all the aerobic soil activity is occuring. Below that level, most soil activity is anaerobic and much slower. It's still good to get below that level and break things up. Many plants do a good job of doing this - alfalfa being one. This can also be done with subsoilers. Most deep tillage machines do not mix or invert the soil like tillers. They are straight shanks that go 16 or so inches in the ground and make a slit.
    BCS 850 w/ Kohler Diesel, 30" tiller, 18 inch combined ridger, 36" dozer blade, 28" snow thrower, BCS BIO100 chipper, blade, 38" mower, 26 inch rough cut mower, 36 inch sickle, trencher, 2 way plow, ridger, hiller/furrower

    Deere 60, 3010, 3020, 4010, 4020, 4430, 4640, 4840 and all the implements to work 'em

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