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  1. #1
    New Member
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    Nov 2008
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    5
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    Huntsville, AL
    Tractor
    Kubota 2920

    Default cultivator, disk, or spike harrow

    I am trying to decide between a cultivator (single row or double row), small disk harrow, or spike (drag) harrow. Each is better suited to particular tasks, but I cannot justify buying all and am trying to decide which one I need the most. Ideally, I would want to be able to use it for several tasks.

    I have about 8 acres of pasture that is mostly a mix of tall fescue and bermuda (and of course some weeds) that currently is stocked with goats (the previous owner had horses).

    I want to introduce some white clover into the current grass to cut down on fertilizing. I thought I should probably break up some of the sod before broadcasting seed (or is this not necessary?). There is also a small area (1/4 acre) that has suffered some erosion and is very rough (bumpy) with thin ground cover that needs to be smoothed and overseeded. A spike harrow could help, but would it expose enough soil thru the existing sod to help clover germinate?

    How about using a single or double row cultivator to disturb the sod before broadcasting clover, or would this not work well on untilled ground (Alabama clay)? A cultivator could also be useful in my small (40x75 foot) garden. Does pulling a row cultivator behind a tractor work with small gardens? (I know most people use chemicals or mulch to control weeds, and I have tried both.)

    Would a disc harrow be better or would it destroy too much of the existing grass? And would a disc be useful for anything else? I already have a 48" rototiller as well as a small walk behind tiller.

    Any input appreciated.
    Steve

  2. #2
    Super Member flusher's Avatar
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    Jun 2005
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    6,538
    Location
    Sacramento
    Tractor
    Sold the farm, sold the tractors, moved back to the city

    Default Re: cultivator, disk, or spike harrow

    Quote Originally Posted by sedmond View Post
    I am trying to decide between a cultivator (single row or double row), small disk harrow, or spike (drag) harrow. Each is better suited to particular tasks, but I cannot justify buying all and am trying to decide which one I need the most. Ideally, I would want to be able to use it for several tasks.

    I have about 8 acres of pasture that is mostly a mix of tall fescue and bermuda (and of course some weeds) that currently is stocked with goats (the previous owner had horses).

    I want to introduce some white clover into the current grass to cut down on fertilizing. I thought I should probably break up some of the sod before broadcasting seed (or is this not necessary?). There is also a small area (1/4 acre) that has suffered some erosion and is very rough (bumpy) with thin ground cover that needs to be smoothed and overseeded. A spike harrow could help, but would it expose enough soil thru the existing sod to help clover germinate?

    How about using a single or double row cultivator to disturb the sod before broadcasting clover, or would this not work well on untilled ground (Alabama clay)? A cultivator could also be useful in my small (40x75 foot) garden. Does pulling a row cultivator behind a tractor work with small gardens? (I know most people use chemicals or mulch to control weeds, and I have tried both.)

    Would a disc harrow be better or would it destroy too much of the existing grass? And would a disc be useful for anything else? I already have a 48" rototiller as well as a small walk behind tiller.

    Any input appreciated.
    Steve

    I have 10 acres of flat pasture of which 8 will become my hayfield later this year. For the time being I'm letting the native grasses grow and this Spring plan to check out my haying equipment on that crop before investing in seed and fertilizer.

    I assume that the goats have cropped the fescue and bermuda pretty short. I'd run my spring tooth harrow (aka field cultivator) over the pasture fairly lightly and then overseed with your broadcast seeder. Got this one for $200.



    For my veg garden I use either a 48" Yanmar 1200 rototiller or my Bolens G14 garden tractor with a 32" rototiller.



    Found this one on craigslist for $600 with mid-mount mower and rototiller.

  3. #3
    Gold Member
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    Jul 2008
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    447
    Location
    20 miles west of Atlanta
    Tractor
    Yanmar 2210BD

    Default Re: cultivator, disk, or spike harrow

    I just got a pulverizer last week to do some re-landscraping with and it does a really nice job leveling and getting enough earth stirred up to plant cover or clover, breaks up the dirt clods, best of all it is a fun implement to use. Of course this will destroy the grass you are running over. It would probably be just the thing for the 1/4 A plot.
    Try not. Do or do not. There is no try. Yoda

  4. #4
    Gold Member daBear's Avatar
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    Sep 2007
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    468
    Location
    Brandon, MS
    Tractor
    Kubota L2800

    Default Re: cultivator, disk, or spike harrow

    I have neither, but I would suspect the spike harrow would jump up and down a lot without accomplishing much on your soil and a small disk harrow used lightly would work fine.

  5. #5
    Veteran Member kthompson's Avatar
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    Sep 2008
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    1,057
    Location
    South Carolina
    Tractor
    Kubota M 6800; Kubota B 2710; Gator; Bushhog ZTR; Volvo Mini Excavator EC45

    Default Re: cultivator, disk, or spike harrow

    If you are talking about the field crop type cultivator made or sweeps that is not what you want. You can run a disk with the blades set about straight to do what you want. But, you may find that pasture is so hard it needs more opening up with something deeper such as a subsoiler. A good way to find out is try digging through it by hand and see how well that works. Also does water tend to sit on places also a good sign it has a hard plan or has been packed by the livestock or even water. Have a friend who is top notch large farmer with cows and pastures. He has a large home made roller with spikes on it like a lawn aerator that he uses for getting the pasture ready to over seed and to help open up the dirt where packed.

  6. #6
    Veteran Member Oleozz's Avatar
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    Pa.
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    International 1066 with Year Round Cab, Kioti DK 45S with Cab, 451 Loader

    Default Re: cultivator, disk, or spike harrow

    The biggest problem I have on our ground with a cultivator or a spike tooth harrow is the amount of stones that they drag to the surface. I have stopped using both for that reason and now use a disc and a cultipacker.
    "Land management is an art that builds on history and is based in science." Herb Stoddard Sr.

  7. #7
    Silver Member
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    Oct 2006
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    248
    Location
    Indiana
    Tractor
    TC40DA

    Default Re: cultivator, disk, or spike harrow

    if you just want to establish clover in an existing field, can't you just cut the field short and rent a quality overseeder that'll slice and deposit the clover? i would think the discing will tend to hurt the established grasses...

  8. #8
    Veteran Member pitt_md's Avatar
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    Apr 2008
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    Location
    Pine Island, MN
    Tractor
    Kubota MX5000

    Default Re: cultivator, disk, or spike harrow

    I have about 7 acres that is in the same condition as what your talking about. Mine is a horse pasture that in some spots has been over grazed and has a big time thistle problem. I have spoke with a couple of the local experts who advise me to spray for the weed problem and overseed.

    I have a 6' tiller that I am tempted to use to rip up the entire mess and start over.

    I would be very interested to hear what you decide on and how it works out for you.

  9. #9
    Super Member N80's Avatar
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    Aug 2005
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    5,247
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    SC
    Tractor
    Kubota L4400 4wd w/LA 703 FEL

    Default Re: cultivator, disk, or spike harrow

    I think a disk would give you the most all around utility and should do what you want it to do. A disk gives you more options for how aggressive you want to be. I think a spike harrow would be useless. A toothed cultivator would probably be fine but I think you'll fnd more uses for a disk.

    Either the disk or the cultivator will mess up your current grass some. But, if you set the disk not too agressively it will score the ground pretty well, but not very deep and it won't move the dirt much. The grasses should recover pretty quickly and you'd give the clover a slight seed bed to get started in. However, like you, I have no idea if the clover needs a prepped seed bed. It may not.

    If not, spraying for weeds and overseeding, as mentioned above, might be easier.

    I've just found that a disk is not only a useful impelment, but quite versatile as well. Generally a good investment.
    George
    South Carolina

    The size of government is inversely proprotional to the degree of freedom it affords.

    "What is truth?" Pontius Pilate

  10. #10
    Gold Member
    Join Date
    May 2006
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    478
    Location
    Central Illinois. No, not Chicago.
    Tractor
    IH 404, Cub GT 2554

    Default Re: cultivator, disk, or spike harrow

    Quote Originally Posted by Skerby View Post
    if you just want to establish clover in an existing field, can't you just cut the field short and rent a quality overseeder that'll slice and deposit the clover? i would think the discing will tend to hurt the established grasses...
    My thought too. Find a no-till seeder and leave the existing grass intact.
    1962 IH 404, 2006 Cub 2554

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