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  1. #1
    Advertiser sweettractors's Avatar
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    Default Anyone using "Vertical" Tillage for Row Crops?

    We are contemplating going in that direction because of the rock we have in our corn fields. Conventional plowing and discing with a concave disc blade setup brings up some rocks we had just rather not deal with. All the new or used tools we are finding are a lot bigger that we really need. Any leads on vertical tillage tools 8-10 ft in width? Pictured below is typically what we are finding. Way too big for 40 acres No till Corn Operation. Ken Sweet
    Attached Thumbnails Attached Thumbnails -verticaltillage-jpg  
    http://www.sweetfarms.com/

    Sweet Farm Equipment LLC (Internet Sales, Shipping All States)
    Shipping Facility
    1815 Defries Rd., Canmer, Ky 42722 Toll Free 1-866-528-3323
    Ken Sweet sweet@scrtc.com

    Shipping Example: Can ship 800 lbs from Ky. to Dallas for $165
    The Northeast shipping corridor is a little more expensive.

  2. #2
    Super Member Farmwithjunk's Avatar
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    Default Re: Anyone using "Vertical" Tillage for Row Crops?

    Quote Originally Posted by sweettractors View Post
    We are contemplating going in that direction because of the rock we have in our corn fields. Conventional plowing and discing with a concave disc blade setup brings up some rocks we had just rather not deal with. All the new or used tools we are finding are a lot bigger that we really need. Any leads on vertical tillage tools 8-10 ft in width? Pictured below is typically what we are finding. Way too big for 40 acres No till Corn Operation. Ken Sweet
    I'm considering that option as a way of dealing with heavy crop residue with corn on corn ground. Gonna shop around at the National Farm Machinery Show in Feb. Cost may be prohibitive even with 300+ acres of corn I'll be planting this year.

    I've seen a few older disc's with dish blades removed in favor of wavy coulters. With that, to get the desired effect, disc gangs need to be set nearly straight.

    Corn will tend to root to a depth where soil density changes. Even a slight variation has a powerful effect. I've seen field studies where ground that was fall chiseled to a depth of 20", then a field cultivator was run at a depth of 6" in the spring. The corn would root to the 6" point, then start spreading instead of rooting deeper. Same test, the soil was worked (in spring) to depth of 4".....and corn rooted 4" deep. The thought behind MOST vertical tillage used in this part of the country is, soil is worked no more than a couple inches (at most), roughly the same depth as the planter will run. When the corn roots, it doesn't hit a change in soil density, therefore, it continues to root deeper. In the results of the field trial I saw, corn grown in otherwise un-worked soil, just vertical tilled to a depth of 1", corn rooted almost 2' deep.

    Some vertical tillage equipment will have straight shank rippers also. They're intended to fracture plow pan, but not disturb soil structure in the upper 10" or 12". Those machines will generally require a good bit of HP for anything of significant width.

    I'm a big believer in no till. To make that work well, soil structure needs to "improve" naturally where possible. Many of the newer hybrids (corn) tend to leave behind VERY heavy residue (even with chopping corn heads on combine...) Planting corn on corn, as is becoming more prevalent, you have to deal with the residue in some fashion, or it becomes a serious issue when planting. Vertical tillage seems to be that answer (at least in my case) Also, with the increase in roundup resistant weeds, other forms of weed treatments are required (again) The most popular is simply returning to the "old days" and using various pre-emerge products. Many of those need to be EITHER incorporated in the soil OR depend on timely rains to get the product down in the soil structure, as quite a few don't work as well when simply left on the surface. ....Vertical tillage gives you an opportunity to incorporate that pre into the upper 1" or 2" of soil without grossly effecting soil structure (in terms of common no tilling practices)

    Long story short, vertical tillage seems to have a place when used in a no till style of farming. However, as you mentioned, due to the changing times, MOST all vert-till equipment is targeting large "BIG TIME OPERATORS" and their high hp tractors. Those of us who're surviving with equipment that is relatively small by todays standards, we have to improvise, or suck it up and buy tractors that are just simply way too big relative to the number of acres we farm. My 4440 Deere is about as big as I plan to go at this point in my old age!

    Go to U-Tube and search for vertical tillage....Most of the popular brands will have video's showing their current line-ups. There is also a number of videos that explain all the advantages of vert-till. Every farmer worth his salt is usually able to "adapt/improvise/overcome" with some sort of modification to existing/older equipment to get the desired results. (ie....straight coulters on an older disc frame....)
    There are three kinds of men;
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    3.) The rest of them have to pee on the electric fence for themselves.

  3. #3
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    Default Re: Anyone using "Vertical" Tillage for Row Crops?

    I've heard of people running rock flex type discs with wavy blades set to straight. I'm not sure its the best trash management system for true no-till, but then again, I'm not a big fan of corn on corn for multiple years. History says its a bad idea.

  4. #4
    Super Member Farmwithjunk's Avatar
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    Default Re: Anyone using "Vertical" Tillage for Row Crops?

    Quote Originally Posted by slowzuki View Post
    I've heard of people running rock flex type discs with wavy blades set to straight. I'm not sure its the best trash management system for true no-till, but then again, I'm not a big fan of corn on corn for multiple years. History says its a bad idea.
    Corn on corn over many years might not always be the greatest idea with what technology we have had to this point in history, but it's become a very common practice. High corn prices and the higher profit potential (relative to other crops) makes it an attractive option. It's fairly common here in the corn belt to see 2/3rds to 1/3rd corn to soybeans planted, which means there has to be a good bit of corn on corn. Yes, that does PROMOTE certain insect problems, weed problems, and the issue of dealing with heavy stalk residue. But.....With proper management, corn on corn is a viable option. History doesn't take into account much of the modern technology available today, as well as what is expected in the near future. I've seen several University studies where 2nd and 3rd year corn actually sees a significant yield INCREASE in years 2 and 3. Corn on corn does make the use of chemicals with a high rate of carry-over a lot less of an issue. Long term fertilizer planning is much easier with repeat crops. There is a long list of possible advantages to be capitalized upon.

    That said, I'm still "old school" enough that I'm more apt to lean towards a crop rotation plan that only sees a minimal amount of corn on corn, if at all.

    All things being equal, the advantages and disadvantages being what they are, corn on corn is still going to be a fact of life so long as we see corn prices in the $7 to $8 range. It's not so much a matter of "IF" we can make it work as it is "HOW" we can make it work.
    Last edited by Farmwithjunk; 01-05-2012 at 09:17 AM.
    There are three kinds of men;
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    3.) The rest of them have to pee on the electric fence for themselves.

  5. #5
    Elite Member blueriver's Avatar
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    Default Re: Anyone using "Vertical" Tillage for Row Crops?

    So from what I see, read ... its basicly just breaking the ground about 1-2" and cutting up the residue? What about virgin soil that has not been planted?
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  6. #6
    Veteran Member Luremaker's Avatar
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    Default Re: Anyone using "Vertical" Tillage for Row Crops?

    Quote Originally Posted by blueriver View Post
    So from what I see, read ... its basicly just breaking the ground about 1-2" and cutting up the residue? What about virgin soil that has not been planted?
    What are there benefits to deep rooted sweet corn vs 6 inches? Maybe I should set my tiller to only work up the top 1-2 inches of ground instead of the 6-7 inches that I work up now.

  7. #7
    Advertiser sweettractors's Avatar
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    Default Re: Anyone using "Vertical" Tillage for Row Crops?

    Thanks for all the good information. We have been thinking of converting a HD 8-10 ft wide wheel disc to wavy blades and run the gangs straight. (probably would have to add weight to disc frame) I would like to get my hands on one of the probes that you manually push in the ground and the gauge reads out soil density in PSI and if it goes over 225 or 250, you have really bad compaction problems. I think I saw that device on a Youtube video last night? Ken Sweet
    http://www.sweetfarms.com/

    Sweet Farm Equipment LLC (Internet Sales, Shipping All States)
    Shipping Facility
    1815 Defries Rd., Canmer, Ky 42722 Toll Free 1-866-528-3323
    Ken Sweet sweet@scrtc.com

    Shipping Example: Can ship 800 lbs from Ky. to Dallas for $165
    The Northeast shipping corridor is a little more expensive.

  8. #8
    Elite Member blueriver's Avatar
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    Default Re: Anyone using "Vertical" Tillage for Row Crops?

    Quote Originally Posted by Luremaker View Post
    What are there benefits to deep rooted sweet corn vs 6 inches? Maybe I should set my tiller to only work up the top 1-2 inches of ground instead of the 6-7 inches that I work up now.
    After some reading I'm considering this type of tillage for my Sweet Corn.

    I copied this from a site.

    Shallow-growing roots don’t weather environmental stresses well and are unable to absorb adequate water and nutrients during the growing season.
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  9. #9
    Advertiser sweettractors's Avatar
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    Default Re: Anyone using "Vertical" Tillage for Row Crops?

    I received a "trade magazine" this morning and here is another way to convert to vertical tillage for a smaller scale row crop operation like ours. You simply remove the points from the chisel plow that you may already have on the farm and bolt on this wavy coulter on roller bearings to the chisel plow spring shanks. For our soil with rocks, this spring action would be helpful. Ken Sweet
    Attached Thumbnails Attached Thumbnails -verticalchiselplowkit-jpg  
    http://www.sweetfarms.com/

    Sweet Farm Equipment LLC (Internet Sales, Shipping All States)
    Shipping Facility
    1815 Defries Rd., Canmer, Ky 42722 Toll Free 1-866-528-3323
    Ken Sweet sweet@scrtc.com

    Shipping Example: Can ship 800 lbs from Ky. to Dallas for $165
    The Northeast shipping corridor is a little more expensive.

  10. #10
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    Default Re: Anyone using "Vertical" Tillage for Row Crops?

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