Disc versus pto tiller

Discussion in 'Whitetail Management' started by MN Slick, Jul 18, 2019.

  1. MN Slick

    MN Slick PMA Member

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    I know the best case scenario is some kind of no-till planting but is there any real difference to soil health between running a disc versus tilling just the top couple inches of soil?
     
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  3. BJohnson

    BJohnson Well-Known Member

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    I am all ears on this topic also as I picked up an older tractor last week and will be choosing between these two tillage options in the future. The points I am considering are listed below:

    1) My plot areas are basically a clover/brassica rotation and I bet a tiller would be better for getting that nitrogen replacement from the clover back into the soil for the brassicas.

    2) My tractor engages the PTO a little hard and I like the disc option from a cost and durability/cost of repair perspective.
     
  4. chipterp

    chipterp PMA Member

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    We have had a couple tillers and the one we have left sits while we use the discs at each farm exclusively. Take the tiller home to do the garden once a year. My dad made a couple drag harrows from an old one that we chain behind the discs that work great .
     
  5. BJohnson

    BJohnson Well-Known Member

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    Chip - What would be your recommendation for min disc width / weight for soil penetration.
     
  6. IowaBowHunter1983

    IowaBowHunter1983 Super Moderator Staff Member

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    Both IMO.

    No way, no how could I disc many of my plots. Barely enough room to get tractor in there as is. Small plots with lots of turning... rototiller all the way.

    Bigger areas. Not a lot of stuff to go around. Disc all the way.

    Rototiller followed by packer and seed.... phenomenal seed bed. If you leave fluffy more erosion as compared to disc.

    Disc def easier on tractor.

    So many pros and cons to each.
     
  7. BJohnson

    BJohnson Well-Known Member

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    "No way, no how could I disc many of my plots. Barely enough room to get tractor in there as is. Small plots with lots of turning..."


    Understand - some of my spots are tight - as is the main trail through my farm. What about 3 pt discs - too light for decent penetration ?? I have been using a Farm King ATV flip disc with notched blades and have always been surprised that it gets decent soil penetration as long as it's not "rock hard" from 4+ weeks of no rain. If I end up with a 3 pt disc, it's going to be notched blades both front and back.
     
  8. chipterp

    chipterp PMA Member

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    It all depends on what your tractor can handle. Also we do a lot of large plots so if your doing just some smaller plots and have narrow trails through the timber the tiller might be the way to go. It was just to slow and time consuming for us.
     
  9. JOSHBRNDT

    JOSHBRNDT Active Member

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    I bought a King Kutter 5 ft last year and absolutely love it. I tilled up about 5 acres with it and it looks amazing. I do have a disc as well and now that I have it worked up I plan on next year trying that as well to see what I like best.

    I used a buddies frontier tiller the other day and was less than impressed with that. King Kutter is the way to go.
     
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  10. gunrunr

    gunrunr Life Member

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    I bought a 7' tiller for behind my little tractor and love it - sold my small disc and my garden tiller soon after.
    Granted, I still have a disc but it is 26' wide and takes the BIG tractor to pull - not the best for food plots and rarely gets hooked up anymore.
    I love how I can take tiller and go into a new spot (even with very heavy sod), drop it down and in one pass i have a seedbed that i can plant that same day
     
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  11. Kaleb

    Kaleb Active Member

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    All depends on size of plot. I’ll bet impact on soil is identical.


    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
     
  12. Jbohn

    Jbohn Active Member

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    I am a tiller man , I do use the disk sometimes depending on the situation . But I still finish with the tiller. Tiller cuts my work in half .. Never go back to the days of Disking only .
     
  13. hans1

    hans1 Active Member

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    Both implements create a hard pan. All will be different due to variables of tractor size, tiller and or disc size and soil condition, real small plots tiller all the way glad I have both. Tiller will need a cultipacker but does produce perfect plot in dry soil.
     
  14. MN Slick

    MN Slick PMA Member

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    I was asking more about the effect on the soil between the two. Lots of talk about how working the soil is detrimental to it's health. Anyone having success with throw and mow in Southern IA/Norther MO? I like the concept but it's so damn dry down there it would likely be a recipe for failure.
     
  15. Tmayer13

    Tmayer13 PMA Member

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    IMO I think your be better off saving your money and putting it towards a no-till drill of some sort. I use only atv equipment and next year im going to a no-till system for everything...the weather is so unpredictable, might get rain for a month straight and then dry for the next month.
     
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  16. MN Slick

    MN Slick PMA Member

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    I agree, but damn are they spendy and I have a small tractor and limited acreage that I plant. That said, I'm trying to justify the cost as I type. Lot of money for these deers, LOL.
     
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  17. Sligh1

    Sligh1 Administrator Staff Member

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    This for sure has a million different opinions. All with validity!!! No doubt about it. On any side “well I plant XYZ way and it turns out fantastic!!!”

    Everything has its +/- No doubt. Few lil examples off top of my head....
    With a drill...
    Downside: u need to treat the urea or use liquid so it doesn’t evaporate. Dealing with trash & residue is more difficult. Depth & seeding rates need tweaked. They are “somewhat expensive”, more on that in sec. can be heavy. Bigger equipment needed in some cases.
    Upside: one pass & done. No disc/til, pack, spread, pack. Less equipment. Not hard on pto like tiller, way way less fuel used. Way less weed pressure: more successful plots, less spraying & less failures. Little to no erosion!!! Keeps moisture in the soil!!!
    Can buy a used old drill, 5-7’ for $1500-4500 depending on what. I have a 2 box tye drill that’s 3 point, I think it’s 5’. $1500 & works great!!!

    Disc or tiller:
    Downside: stirs up weed seed. If erodible area- loss of top soil..... Extreme topsoil loss with tiller in erodible areas - especially if u get a gusher of a rain storm, less so if not. Tears up natural soil ecology. Uses tons of fuel & tiller is hard on tractor. Moisture loss. Need multiple pieces of equipment. Likely will need more sprayings.
    Upside: can be found low cost - especially when used. Simple. Can make an incredible seed bed. Can put fertilizer into soil & avoid any evaporation. Can tear up residue & Make unworked ground ready for seed. Smooth out ruts & bumps. Anyone can use it with any basic understanding.

    I’ve done fantastic plots with both. I used to use disc & packer on newly worked ground & go no till after that. I personally like a disc over a tiller for a long list of reasons, many are above (disc is less extreme on negatives) Now I do beans on new ground (no till) & drill every year after. There truly isn’t a wrong answer..... let’s say u have NHEL ground that won’t erode- it’s not going to be a massive issue either way. If u have slope & erosion- a guy really has to be careful & make sure Doing lot of extra steps to be on erosion, weeds, spraying, etc. both need a “fussy & careful operator” as “failures & issues” can come up with both. The risk with drill If do things wrong: crappy plot. Do things wrong with working soil: crappy plots + u could do some almost permanent damage to ground. Just go into it paying attention to detail & following a carefully put together plan tailored to ur situation. Good luck!
     
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  18. JOSHBRNDT

    JOSHBRNDT Active Member

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    Bought my tiller at Orschlen's in Centerville. I priced them out all over and they had the best deal going for the king kutter.
     
  19. Daver

    Daver PMA Member

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    I have done some variant of "throw and mow" several times, mostly with good success. I have had better luck with smaller seeds(brassicas). I would not plant peas that way though for one, the seed is too large and I think you need some soil over the top of it. Scenario - mow your plot down fairly short, kill it with roundup, broadcast brassica seed, (key step here) drag it and apply fertilizer just before a rain.

    The dragging step has a way of getting those tiny brassica seeds through the duff and onto the bare soil below. Then the duff works for you in that it is the perfect cover for the seed to germinate and the soil to stay cooler and hold moisture better. Given all of that, you are protecting yourself better against low moisture situations. But if you don't drag it, then I think too much of the seed is left to lie on top of the duff and it does not germinate well.
     
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  20. MN Slick

    MN Slick PMA Member

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    Great info Sligh. I'm trying to justify why I need to spend big money on a drill and I'm doing a pretty good job of it so far!! HA! Grant Woods claims he doesn't need as much or any fertizlizer with after a few years of his Buffalo System. Do you find the same type of improvents in your soil after a few years of no till?
     
  21. MN Slick

    MN Slick PMA Member

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    Thanks, good to hear it has worked for you Daver, especially considering how dry your area has been. Good feedback.
     

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