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  1. #1
    Member
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    Nov 2012
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    36
    Location
    Zebulon, NC
    Tractor
    Mahindra 2810

    Default Problems making beds and furrows... soil too clumpy?

    This is my first go at this, and my first tractor. We bought a house and negotiated the tractor and the implements with the home. I am attempting to make hills/bedders for the potatoes and am having problems. We tilled the soil twice, once in early January, once about a week ago. I have a mahindra 2810 (28hp, 3500lb tractor). The cultivator/bedder has a ford label and massey ferguson label on it. I don't know the age, but it looks fairly old. I know I need to adjust the sweeps a little, but I feel like I can't get enough lift (pic shows the implement raised completely). I also can't make a good furrow (in my opinion, compared to what I see the guys do on youtube). This "garden" has been in existence for 10 plus years on the property, and has been worked yearly. We had a spot of rain once this past week on Tuesday, not more than a .25in though according to the weather websites. Any suggestions? Is this implement just too large for the tractor?












  2. #2
    Silver Member
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    Jan 2012
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    153
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    Alabama
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    Kubota M7040, Kubota B2710

    Default

    You may need to repeat tilling to get the clumps out. I think the row hiller looks like an ok size for your tractor. I think you may be too critical of your work, the pictures look pretty good to me!

  3. #3
    Veteran Member
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    Sep 2009
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    Up State S.C.
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    AC WD 34 hp/3500 lbs MF 261 60 hp/5380 lbs

    Default Re: Problems making beds and furrows... soil too clumpy?

    I get clumps when I plow soil that's too wet. They harden and are difficult to turn back into loose soil. The next year, my clumps are gone. I suspect a freeze cycle loosens the bond between grains of sand. For the year of the clumps, a disk harrow followed by a drag harrow usually help break them up.

  4. #4
    Silver Member ericb2400's Avatar
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    Jan 2013
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    165
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    KY
    Tractor
    kubota B2400

    Default Re: Problems making beds and furrows... soil too clumpy?

    no experience here other that thinking about a hiller my self and looking at them on utube.
    Looks like the ground was wet when you tilled, or when u ran the hiller. the little rain you had between jobs is probably what made the dirt clumpy
    It looks like the sweeps that take out tire tracks need to be lower, and the thing that makes the furrow (sp) should be behind the disks to make the furrow after the dirt is hilled.

  5. #5
    Gold Member wcampbell47's Avatar
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    Jul 2009
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    486
    Location
    Texas Coast
    Tractor
    Kubota 7510 and B3200

    Default Re: Problems making beds and furrows... soil too clumpy?

    I would agree soil is too wet which is making the clumps. When a bit drier run the tiller at PTO speed and travel very slow. That should leave the soil fluffy. In my garden I have stopped using the plows as they seem to bring clumps to the top.
    Caution: Some of my posts may be politically incorrect.
    Kubota B7510 & B3200

  6. #6
    Member
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    Nov 2012
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    36
    Location
    Zebulon, NC
    Tractor
    Mahindra 2810

    Default Re: Problems making beds and furrows... soil too clumpy?

    Ok, thanks for the insight everyone.

    How long do you have to wait for the soil to dry out typically. What would you suggest doing with our seed potatoes, plop them in some soil and transplant when we can get furrows done correctly?

  7. #7
    Veteran Member hunterridgefarm's Avatar
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    Jul 2005
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    Western NC
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    Kubota L3130DT, Kubota L185DT, JD LX277

    Default Re: Problems making beds and furrows... soil too clumpy?

    It looks like you suffer from Carolina Red Clay Syndrome. It holds moisture and takes a while to dry out. I don't have that type soil where I currently live but did a few years back. I would till once it dries out a little, 3-4 days with no rain, and then use the bedder as soon as you get finished tilling, same day. This way the soil has not had time to settle and should not be as clumpy. The Carolina red clay compacts quickly due to its on weight and its ability to hold moisture.

    The seed potatoes should be fine in a brown bag closed up. I have not planted my potatoes this year and if I do it will be in the next couple of weeks. Still trying to decide if I am going to plant potatoes this year.

    You said this was your "first go at this". Are you referring to gardening or the bedder? If gardening and you plan on setting out tomato, squash, and cucumbers be sure to keep them away from the potatoes. Plant them on the other side of your garden.

    On the lift issue, check where the top link connects to the tractor. You my have a couple of settings (holes) to help adjust the lift. My tractor has 3 holes to connect the top link to. Most of my implements work well with the middle hole. But I need more lift when using my PHD and move the top link to the bottom hole. The side adjustable link that attaches to your 3-pt arms my also have an extra hole to help adjust the lift height, most do but I cannot tell from the picture if yours does.

    David
    I suffer from MPD...Multiple Project Disorder

  8. #8
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    jinman's Avatar
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    Texas - Wise County - Sunset
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    Default Re: Problems making beds and furrows... soil too clumpy?

    I think ericb2400 is getting really close to your problems. Your cultivator and hillers are so close to mine that I checked my tractor to make sure it wasn't missing. Do you have other trailing shank arms like the ones on the wheel sweeps? You need to have a trailing sweep/furrower behind your hiller discs. You can reverse that arm and reverse the foot on the bottom to make it work if you don't have other shank arms.

    The wheel sweeps can be on any type of shank arm and could be mounted on two forward arms if you have them. That would allow you to use one of those shank arms for the middle furrow. Getting the wheel sweeps in the dirt at an angle will help to pull the cultivator frame down and make your hiller discs dig in more. Loosen your feet and drop those wheel sweeps down to the about 1" of shaft above the foot. Adjust your toplink for the best digging characteristics. Make sure both left and right sweeps are set exactly the same depth. If your cultivator doesn't have downforce, the hiller discs just roll along and lift the whole cultivator instead of throwing a good hill.

    Also, your hiller discs need to be about 6" closer together and maybe angled a bit more to throw more dirt. Bigger diameter discs can be further apart and throw more dirt for a bigger hill. Your discs look like 12" or 14". The problem you will run into is that sometimes the A-frame for the 3PH has bolts that interfere with just where you want to place the disk shank arms. You could drop those hiller disc down a bit more. I know you don't seem to have my clearance when transporting the cultivator, but that's just the nature of this type of setup and your lift arm geometry. I carry mine just a few inches off the ground with the 3PH all the way up. If you go over rough terrain, you may have the plow digging in.

    I can't tell you much about your soil except adding sand and mulch will help break up that clay. Unfortunately, it takes a lot of sand to make a difference. I pick up soil and squeeze it into a ball in my hand. If it sticks together in a tight ball and any moisture squeezes out, it is too wet to plow. If it crumbles easily when you release your hand pressure, it will plow well. If it is malleable, it will clump, but if it is crumbly, you can get it to fluff up by repeated tilling. Tilling also really speeds the drying process.

    I am sure that sandy soil grows the best potatoes, but clay soil will surprise you with how well it grows some crops. Okra seems to love clay soil and so do peas and beans. Any plant similar to melons that likes to develop extensive roots and use a lot of water to form fruit will do better in sandy soil. Potatoes will probably do okay, but they won't form as pretty as they would in sandy soil.
    Jim


  9. #9
    Elite Member Don87's Avatar
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    May 2010
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    4,226
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    SW Pa.
    Tractor
    Massey Ferguson GC2400

    Default Re: Problems making beds and furrows... soil too clumpy?

    Ground is too wet. All the pics are showing mud/water.
    Don

    MF GC2400, FEL, 60in.MMM, 5ft. Cultivator, Single Bottom Plow, Bush Hog RTC48 tiller, MF 2360 front mount snowblower, 5ft backblade. BXpanded Piranha toothbar.

  10. #10
    Silver Member
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    Apr 2012
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    Gasconade County,Mo
    Tractor
    New Holland TC29,Ford Jubilee

    Default Re: Problems making beds and furrows... soil too clumpy?

    Throw up beds in fall,winter soften em up,then just knock top off,and plant.

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