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  1. #1
    New Member
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    tbc

    Default Advice needed for a newbie homestead farmer

    Hi there,
    I have been lurking in this forum for a while now, and have finally developed the courage to ask a question!
    I live in New Zealand and have - what we call down here a 'lifestyle block'. Similiar I guess to a small american homestead.

    Anyway, I have about 10 acres of flat, cleared grazable land. It's been in grass for decades, but I want to work in some crop rotations - the goal/dream is to have a self-sufficient property (house cow, pigs, chooks, orchard, firewood, vege patch, growing cereals and roots etc).

    I'm going to split half of the land into 10 paddocks - 1/2 acre each - and with these paddocks rotate various crops through (grass - oats - roots - legumes - potatoes - maize etc). So I'm looking at getting a John Deere 1025R to help out around the farm.

    Ok so enough of the back story, my question is around attachments... I don't really know what to get.

    I figured I will need a plow - as the fields are in grass, I don't have horses, and I don't really want to plow up 1/2 acre fields by hand.

    Then I probably need some discs to help loosen things up. And maybe a tiller... but now things start getting expensive..

    So my questions are:

    1) Do I need a plow attachment? Or could I just use a rotary plow?
    2) Or could a S-tine and some discs be good enough to plow the field?

    3) Or would I be OK to just use an 'all in one' such as the JD MF22 Series Mulch Finishers or the FP22 Series Food Plot Seeders ? (or would these be no good for plowing?)

    I guess the question I'm asking is - if I have a 1025R JD, and want to plant out various crops in 1/2 acre fields, and given I have a limited budget, what attachment(s) would give me the best bang for my buck?

    Thanks so much!

  2. #2
    Veteran Member
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    May 2005
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    2,175
    Location
    N. E. Florida

    Default Re: Advice needed for a newbie homestead farmer

    Can the grass be cut for hay?
    If so can you find someone who would cut it in exchange for the hay?
    If the grass is cut low then you can till it.

  3. #3
    Elite Member RalphVa's Avatar
    Join Date
    Dec 2003
    Posts
    4,904
    Location
    Charlottesville, VA, USA
    Tractor
    JD 2025R, previously Gravely 5650 & JD 4010 & JD 1025R

    Default Re: Advice needed for a newbie homestead farmer

    Quote Originally Posted by alexfergus View Post
    Hi there,
    I have been lurking in this forum for a while now, and have finally developed the courage to ask a question!
    I live in New Zealand and have - what we call down here a 'lifestyle block'. Similiar I guess to a small american homestead.

    Anyway, I have about 10 acres of flat, cleared grazable land. It's been in grass for decades, but I want to work in some crop rotations - the goal/dream is to have a self-sufficient property (house cow, pigs, chooks, orchard, firewood, vege patch, growing cereals and roots etc).

    I'm going to split half of the land into 10 paddocks - 1/2 acre each - and with these paddocks rotate various crops through (grass - oats - roots - legumes - potatoes - maize etc). So I'm looking at getting a John Deere 1025R to help out around the farm.

    Ok so enough of the back story, my question is around attachments... I don't really know what to get.

    I figured I will need a plow - as the fields are in grass, I don't have horses, and I don't really want to plow up 1/2 acre fields by hand.

    Then I probably need some discs to help loosen things up. And maybe a tiller... but now things start getting expensive..

    So my questions are:

    1) Do I need a plow attachment? Or could I just use a rotary plow?
    2) Or could a S-tine and some discs be good enough to plow the field?

    3) Or would I be OK to just use an 'all in one' such as the JD MF22 Series Mulch Finishers or the FP22 Series Food Plot Seeders ? (or would these be no good for plowing?)

    I guess the question I'm asking is - if I have a 1025R JD, and want to plant out various crops in 1/2 acre fields, and given I have a limited budget, what attachment(s) would give me the best bang for my buck?

    Thanks so much!
    First off, I recommend you get a JD 2025R, as it has turning brakes and a tad higher clearance. I've had both. The 1025R was, frankly, a piece of junk. Had a JD 4010 (like a JD 2019E, if one were made) for 9 years and 660 hours first, after a Gravely. You might be able to use a turning brake to keep the tractor in line using a single moldboard or rotary disc without a trail wheel, but that might very quickly heat up the hydraulic fluid too much, as the brakes are submerged in fluid.

    I used a Gravely rotary plow to turn some very grassy bottom land into a veggie garden. When I got the JD, I acquired an old JD M soil ripper from a friend who helped me to convert it to 3ph. I then redid the garden plot with the soil ripper (note: grass was gone by this point). Never used neither the rotary plow nor the soil ripper again, as I went no till. Put a pair of huge (think about 20") discs behind the rear wheels of the 4010 and mounted them onto the tool bar of the soil ripper. Made 20 raised rows with this rig. The turning brakes worked great to wheel the tractor right around to the next row. You could use a couple potato plows to do the same thing and then use them later to plow up potatoes.

    You can do the same thing with what's called a Keulavator available from Agri Supply. It then has cultivator tines (like the soil ripper) and discs, etc. to mount onto the Keulavator "tool bar". You could mount 2 discs in parallel to turn the ground over, if you could figure out how to mount a trail wheel to keep the discs from steering the tractor, similar to what the Gravely rotary plow has. Unfortunately, I've never seen an actual rotary plow (turned by the PTO) made for 3ph. I had to look up that JD MF22 you mentioned. It's similar to the Keulavator, apparently multiple "tool bars" on it. JD probably has some mounting tools for putting other stuff onto those tool bars. Maybe they even have a trail wheel?

    Here's a link for the Keulavator: Search Results | Agri Supply(R)

    Here's a link for a single moldboard plow: Search Results | Agri Supply(R) Don't see a trail wheel. Hope they have one somewhere available or included. The 2025R is too light to use with a plow without a trail wheel.

    Plain multiple small discs won't be adequate for turning grass (unless you put a lot of weight atop them and with lots of gripping power in the tires): better for smoothing ground left by a rotary disc or moldboard plow; multiple tines (like my soil ripper or tines on the MF22) would do as well (for already tilled ground). A tiller might do but would probably load up with grass. A big rotary disc or moldboard type plow is needed to turn grass. I grew up on a big farm in Oklahoma. We'd use a pair of moldboard or rotary discs followed by either multiple small discs or harrow, which is similar to the soil ripper but way wider and with a lot more scratchers. Saw the old farmer on the way into our road Sunday dragging a bunch of old tires chained together that he apparently was going to use to smooth some plowed ground.

    R4s (industrial) tires will give you the most gripping power to drive ground engaging stuff. I had turfs on the 4010 but have R4s on the 2025R and had them on the 1025R. R4s don't grip for turning as well as turfs, but that's what turning brakes are for.

    Good luck, mate. Loved NZ. Visited it twice.

    Ralph
    Attached Images Attached Images
    The natural gardener
    God's original intent

  4. #4
    New Member
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    Mar 2018
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    New Zealand
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    tbc

    Default Re: Advice needed for a newbie homestead farmer

    Quote Originally Posted by Stimw View Post
    Can the grass be cut for hay?
    If so can you find someone who would cut it in exchange for the hay?
    If the grass is cut low then you can till it.
    Yep it can be cut for Hay In fact thats what I will be doing if I have excess grass (I will need to find someone with a baler, or if it's small amounts I could stack it myself).
    Or I could graze it down with cattle.

    So to confirm - if the grass is low, I could go straight in with a tiller and not need to plow?

    Though I should mention, I want to grow cover crops (green manure) like Lucerne (alfalfa) and Lupin - dig them in a few weeks prior to planting... hmm now that I think of this, I guess I will be needing a plow anyway (though I could still go with a rotary plow in the mean time)

  5. #5
    Elite Member
    Join Date
    Jul 2014
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    2,587
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    Guin, AL
    Tractor
    Kubota L3200 DT w/LA524 FEL, Loaded rear tires, LP RCR 1860 5' Cutter, LP RTA 1258 5' Tiller, LP PFL 2042 Pallet Forks w/60" Extensions, KK BB60 Box Blade, KK PHD-12" Post Hole Digger

    Default Re: Advice needed for a newbie homestead farmer


    To TBN Alex. Glad that you finally joined so that we can get to know you.

    Congrats on your 'lifestyle block'. As you go along, please post some pictures as we all love pics.
    US Air Force Retired (1966-1988) ... mike

    Kubota TG1860G w/RCK54TG
    24 HP V-Twin Pro Yard Tractor
    Ohio Steel 12.5 cu. ft. Poly Swivel Dump Cart

  6. #6
    Super Member
    Join Date
    Jul 2009
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    8,998
    Location
    SW WA
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    Kubota BX2360

    Default Re: Advice needed for a newbie homestead farmer

    Think about your sectioning plan.

    If your land was divided into 10 parallel paddocks, you would loose much less crop land at the end of the rows where the tractor turns than if you had 10 square paddocks, each with two unused turning ends.

    Bruce

  7. #7
    Veteran Member
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    Jan 2007
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    Central-western UP Michigan
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    Kioti DK5010HS

    Default Re: Advice needed for a newbie homestead farmer

    I'm on my second small farm of doing something vaguely like this. First thing you want to do is find out what local farmers, large and small, are doing. I don't know your climate, soil, pests or other growing conditions. Chances are that the majority of locals are doing something that has proven better than other options in the area, whatever that something might be.

    With that said, and depending on your soil conditions, I have found a rototiller to be more effective and versatile for small-plot use than any other implement including disk, ripper/chisel plow, etc. I haven't tried a moldboard (turning) plow, but that is heading towards antique status at least in the US as it leads to compaction and furrows and requires a lot of time and horsepower to use. My current farm has leftover plow furrows, especially edge of field dead furrows, and it hasn't seen a turning plow in at least 20 years, probably closer to 50.

  8. #8
    New Member
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    Default Re: Advice needed for a newbie homestead farmer

    Quote Originally Posted by RalphVa View Post
    First off, I recommend you get a JD 2025R, as it has turning brakes and a tad higher clearance. I've had both. The 1025R was, frankly, a piece of junk. Had a JD 4010 (like a JD 2019E, if one were made) for 9 years and 660 hours first, after a Gravely. You might be able to use a turning brake to keep the tractor in line using a single moldboard or rotary disc without a trail wheel, but that might very quickly heat up the hydraulic fluid too much, as the brakes are submerged in fluid.

    I used a Gravely rotary plow to turn some very grassy bottom land into a veggie garden. When I got the JD, I acquired an old JD M soil ripper from a friend who helped me to convert it to 3ph. I then redid the garden plot with the soil ripper (note: grass was gone by this point). Never used neither the rotary plow nor the soil ripper again, as I went no till. Put a pair of huge (think about 20") discs behind the rear wheels of the 4010 and mounted them onto the tool bar of the soil ripper. Made 20 raised rows with this rig. The turning brakes worked great to wheel the tractor right around to the next row. You could use a couple potato plows to do the same thing and then use them later to plow up potatoes.

    You can do the same thing with what's called a Keulavator available from Agri Supply. It then has cultivator tines (like the soil ripper) and discs, etc. to mount onto the Keulavator "tool bar". You could mount 2 discs in parallel to turn the ground over, if you could figure out how to mount a trail wheel to keep the discs from steering the tractor, similar to what the Gravely rotary plow has. Unfortunately, I've never seen an actual rotary plow (turned by the PTO) made for 3ph. I had to look up that JD MF22 you mentioned. It's similar to the Keulavator, apparently multiple "tool bars" on it. JD probably has some mounting tools for putting other stuff onto those tool bars. Maybe they even have a trail wheel?

    Here's a link for the Keulavator: Search Results | Agri Supply(R)

    Here's a link for a single moldboard plow: Search Results | Agri Supply(R) Don't see a trail wheel. Hope they have one somewhere available or included. The 2025R is too light to use with a plow without a trail wheel.

    Plain multiple small discs won't be adequate for turning grass (unless you put a lot of weight atop them and with lots of gripping power in the tires): better for smoothing ground left by a rotary disc or moldboard plow; multiple tines (like my soil ripper or tines on the MF22) would do as well (for already tilled ground). A tiller might do but would probably load up with grass. A big rotary disc or moldboard type plow is needed to turn grass. I grew up on a big farm in Oklahoma. We'd use a pair of moldboard or rotary discs followed by either multiple small discs or harrow, which is similar to the soil ripper but way wider and with a lot more scratchers. Saw the old farmer on the way into our road Sunday dragging a bunch of old tires chained together that he apparently was going to use to smooth some plowed ground.

    R4s (industrial) tires will give you the most gripping power to drive ground engaging stuff. I had turfs on the 4010 but have R4s on the 2025R and had them on the 1025R. R4s don't grip for turning as well as turfs, but that's what turning brakes are for.

    Good luck, mate. Loved NZ. Visited it twice.

    Ralph
    Wow - amazing! Thank you so much.
    Its taken me a few run throughs to figure all of this out - so much content

    - Tractor 1025 v 2025- noted. There was a good special on the 1025, but I'll haggle for a lower price on the 2025r and see how I go.
    - Keulavator - looks interesting, will research further.

    As for everything else, I'm looking into various names/models - so thanks for that.
    Here is what I took from your points:

    1. If turning grass into soil - I will need a plow of some sort.
    2. Plain disks won't work for this job.
    3. Tines - like those on the MF22 - are best used for already cut up ground.
    4. A big rotary disc or moldboard type plow is needed to turn grass.
    5. R4 tires are the way to go
    6. Keep researching, as there are tons of setups/options possible :P

    Follow up questions:
    A. What is a 'plow with a trail wheel' (RE: The 2025R is too light to use with a plow without a trail wheel.)
    B. What are your thoughts on this - Middle Buster
    C. If I were just to go with 2 attachments for now, would this setup work:
    1x Plow (PB10 Series) ( or even the Middle Buster above?)
    1x Mulch Finisher - MF22 Series (disc + S-tines + roller)

    Thanks!

  9. #9
    New Member
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    Default Re: Advice needed for a newbie homestead farmer

    Quote Originally Posted by mddorange View Post

    To TBN Alex. Glad that you finally joined so that we can get to know you.

    Congrats on your 'lifestyle block'. As you go along, please post some pictures as we all love pics.
    Thanks and I sure will

  10. #10
    New Member
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    Default Re: Advice needed for a newbie homestead farmer

    Quote Originally Posted by bcp View Post
    Think about your sectioning plan.

    If your land was divided into 10 parallel paddocks, you would loose much less crop land at the end of the rows where the tractor turns than if you had 10 square paddocks, each with two unused turning ends.

    Bruce
    Good point!!

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