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  1. #1

    Default Middlebuster for a trench, rocky soil

    I have a lot of trench work to do over the next year or so, I was thinking about buying a middle buster to do some of the work. I'm thinking I will probably have to rent a trencher for the water supply lines, considering the frost line here in Ohio.

    When using a trencher here it's a fight sometimes due to rocks, but it gets the job done. I'm thinking with a middle buster a rock would stop me, but I could probably mess around a bit and dig it out.

    The other use of the middle buster would be for general dirt loosening, either for a bit of lawn smoothing or to convince water to stop puddling up so much.

    I guess what I'm asking is can you effectively make a 12" or 18" deep trench with a middle buster? I'm sure I'll have to go over it a few times, but it shouldn't be much, if any, slower than using a trencher. Plus for less money I'll own the tool, rather than renting a trencher. It seems like I always have use for one and never have one here to use.

  2. #2
    Elite Member Baby Grand's Avatar
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    Default Re: Middlebuster for a trench, rocky soil

    Hard to say - there's rocky, and then there's rocky.
    Where I am now, rocks are so scarce I collect them whenever one turns up.
    It's all glaciolacustrine soils - glacial lake and river delta sediments - clay, sand and a few stones.
    Where I come from (50 miles away) you couldn't put a shovel to Earth without getting a "clank".
    Digging a post hole was an all day job and usually resulted in a 3' diameter hole, just to get all the wedged together rocks out.
    It's at a glacial moraine - where a glacier halted, briefly, and dumped car sized boulders, cobbles and till, all in a big pile on top of ledge.
    For really rocky soil, I'd be wanting a middle buster with shear bolt protection so you don't break something really expensive.
    You may want to look at getting a very small "shovel' or "chisel point" on the end of it for making the initial furrows, then switch to a broader blade to open up the width, once you've reached the depth you need.
    That's the problem with trouble.
    It always starts out as such fun."
    - Randall Brown

  3. #3

    Default Re: Middlebuster for a trench, rocky soil

    Quote Originally Posted by Baby Grand View Post
    Hard to say - there's rocky, and then there's rocky.
    Where I am now, rocks are so scarce I collect them whenever one turns up.
    It's all glaciolacustrine soils - glacial lake and river delta sediments - clay, sand and a few stones.
    Where I come from (50 miles away) you couldn't put a shovel to Earth without getting a "clank".
    Digging a post hole was an all day job and usually resulted in a 3' diameter hole, just to get all the wedged together rocks out.
    It's at a glacial moraine - where a glacier halted, briefly, and dumped car sized boulders, cobbles and till, all in a big pile on top of ledge.
    For really rocky soil, I'd be wanting a middle buster with shear bolt protection so you don't break something really expensive.
    You may want to look at getting a very small "shovel' or "chissel"on the end of it for making the initial furrows, then switch to a broader blade to open up the width, once you've reached the depth you need.
    I think it's safe to say you have more rocks than I do. I have the occasional 'rock pit' where you aren't doing anything, but for the most part you just hit a softball sized one every few feet.

    I could buy the middle buster then bolt a small plate where the plow goes, break up the soil a bit, then bolt the plow back on.

    I need to take a ride to tractor supply and see how deep this thing will go, I'm hoping for over a foot at least. It looks like it will do about 18", but it's hard to tell from a picture. My hitch arms are about 10" off the ground at their lowest setting.

  4. #4
    Advertiser EverythingAttachments's Avatar
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    Default Re: Middlebuster for a trench, rocky soil

    It sounds like a subsoiler is what you need. I've heard of people putting a middlebuster(potato plow) point on them for applications in loose dirt but that wide middlebuster point isn't designed to dig into new soil. The Fred Cain subsoiler will penetrate the ground approximately 18" and has shear pin protection. You'll find it here on our website along with a video showing one in action.
    Ted Corriher
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  5. #5

    Default Re: Middlebuster for a trench, rocky soil

    Quote Originally Posted by EverythingAttachments View Post
    It sounds like a subsoiler is what you need. I've heard of people putting a middlebuster(potato plow) point on them for applications in loose dirt but that wide middlebuster point isn't designed to dig into new soil. The Fred Cain subsoiler will penetrate the ground approximately 18" and has shear pin protection. You'll find it here on our website along with a video showing one in action.
    Thanks.

    I have also looked at the subsoilers some. I think it would be better if I could get a wider trench, the main things I need to bury are going to be power lines and drain lines. I also need to dig a wide, shallow trench around my garage and barns soon, I need to do termite treatment and need to dig about 200' of ditch, about 8" wide and 8" deep. I'm pretty sure a middle buster is going to be about the best choice for that.

    I know I'm not going to be able to sink the middle buster the full depth on the first pass. I doubt I found do that with a subsoiler either though. I have plenty of tractor, actually more than enough to break either attachment. I'm going to give it a shot with my John Deere 2720, if it won't do it I'll hook the real one up. I figure the 2720 should run out of traction before the equipment breaks.

  6. #6
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    Default Re: Middlebuster for a trench, rocky soil

    Never heard of the term "middlebuster" before...city boy.

  7. #7

    Default Re: Middlebuster for a trench, rocky soil

    Quote Originally Posted by sdkubota View Post
    Never heard of the term "middlebuster" before...city boy.
    It's actually a potato plow, for some reason the name got changed over the last few years. I never heard it called that either until I started looking for one.

  8. #8
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    Default

    You can also find combo attachments that can be a subsoiler and a middle buster. Might be worth looking into. Here is 1 from northern tool
    https://m.northerntool.com/northernt...?itemId=256008

  9. #9
    Elite Member Baby Grand's Avatar
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    Default Re: Middlebuster for a trench, rocky soil

    I have a King Kutter (TSC Farm Force label) subsoiler that rips up to about 20" deep if I sink it to the crossmember:

    -p4210013-jpg

    -p4210014-jpg

    I add a potato plow for trenching:

    -2010-05-may-015-jpg

    The angle of the point holder is really too shallow for the potato plow, so stack a bunch of washers between the rear bolt hole and the blade and shorten the top link to tip the blade up some.

    -p4210017-jpg

    I'd give a long, hard look at the Fred Cain subsoiler that Ted mentioned. They have a very good reputation and having shear pin protection could save your bacon if you "find" a really big rock.

    My subsoiler lacks shear pin protection - that's a modification on my To-Do list.

    I have also used it to pull irrigation lines:

    -2011-05-may-008-jpg

    -Jim
    That's the problem with trouble.
    It always starts out as such fun."
    - Randall Brown

  10. #10

    Default Re: Middlebuster for a trench, rocky soil

    Quote Originally Posted by Baby Grand View Post
    I have a King Kutter (TSC Farm Force label) subsoiler that rips up to about 20" deep if I sink it to the crossmember:

    .............

    -Jim
    Excellent idea. I'm doing a version of this, only I think I'm doing it the hard way.

    I ended up buying the middle buster yesterday, from the responses here I gathered that it will work, but won't go deep enough and might have a hard time if I hit a rock. Well I figured anything I buy is going to have a hard time in rocks, so that is a moot point.

    I also have a secondary job that the middle buster will be perfect for, and that is digging a shallow 8" by 8" trench around the barns to spray termite killer in. So if the trenching doesn't work out I still have work for the tool. I watched an exterminator do my house, I just need to copy what they did. shallow trench, fill that with chemical, backfill, then soak the displaced dirt.

    I'll take some pictures at the end of today, I'm heading out now to start digging with it. The first modification was done last night, I added a spacer in the tractor lift arms to get them lower. Before that I was going about 8" down, I should be at around 12" to 15" now. The next one is going to be to make the tool itself depth adjustable, I have a few ideas for that but need to look around a bit and decide what the best course of action will be.

    Pictures and modification instructions coming, stay tuned.

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