Food Plot guys: Discing VS. Tiller

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Chuck R.

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Guys,

I've been putting in my food plots 2-3 annually in the fall (brassicas and wheat/rye) using my 45HP Kubota, 6.5' box frame disc, 3pt spreader and an old chain harrow drag. It's been pretty successful, but multiple passes with the disc to get a decent seed bed. I rigged the harrow drag to work off a 3Pt boom pole so I can lift and lower it in the tight spaces, also works well for cleaning residue out of drag.

My normal procedure for established plots:

1. Mow plot about 6 weeks out from planting
2. Spray with round-up 2 weeks out from discing
3. Disc
4. Seed with either my 3pt spreader or a Solo spreader for the smaller plots
5. Either harrow drag or '"lightly" disc over seeds.
6. Fertilize once growth starts.

Next year I'm thinking of moving to a 72" 3PT tiller. My thoughts are:
1. My plots are established, limited rocks etc.
2. It's a more precise tool for micro plots

What are you guys using???
 
Roto-tillers make a beautiful seed bed if you have no trash(plant residue) to deal with. It sounds like you have it taken care of with the R-up pass.
The tiller is more maintenance. Stay out of the roots.

I would put my fert down right ahead of the tillage. It has to break down before it becomes usable for the plants. Remember to do the math on your plot before you fertilize. It's easy to use too much.

FYI, this is the prescribed amount of diammonium phosphate for my 24x32 garden. Solo cup about ½ full. 16304270266672628607822849394156.jpg
 
Guys,

I've been putting in my food plots 2-3 annually in the fall (brassicas and wheat/rye) using my 45HP Kubota, 6.5' box frame disc, 3pt spreader and an old chain harrow drag. It's been pretty successful, but multiple passes with the disc to get a decent seed bed. I rigged the harrow drag to work off a 3Pt boom pole so I can lift and lower it in the tight spaces, also works well for cleaning residue out of drag.

My normal procedure for established plots:

1. Mow plot about 6 weeks out from planting
2. Spray with round-up 2 weeks out from discing
3. Disc
4. Seed with either my 3pt spreader or a Solo spreader for the smaller plots
5. Either harrow drag or '"lightly" disc over seeds.
6. Fertilize once growth starts.

Next year I'm thinking of moving to a 72" 3PT tiller. My thoughts are:
1. My plots are established, limited rocks etc.
2. It's a more precise tool for micro plots

What are you guys using???
What’s the thinking behind your choice of crops?
 
I have been using a disk but really am wanting a tiller. As far as time spent and fuel a tiller does a quicker and more thorough job.
 
Roto-tillers make a beautiful seed bed if you have no trash(plant residue) to deal with. It sounds like you have it taken care of with the R-up pass.
The tiller is more maintenance. Stay out of the roots.

I would put my fert down right ahead of the tillage. It has to break down before it becomes usable for the plants. Remember to do the math on your plot before you fertilize. It's easy to use too much.

FYI, this is the prescribed amount of diammonium phosphate for my 24x32 garden. Solo cup about ½ full.View attachment 1022168

THANKS, BTW How d o you like the Plot Topper?? This will be my 1st year using it.

What’s the thinking behind your choice of crops?

I normally go with the standard fall food plot mix that's prepped by some seed companies. It's usually a mix of;

Oats
Winter wheat
Rye grain
Austrian winter peas

This year I've added "Plot Topper":
crimson clover
oil-seed radish
tillage radish
rape
purple head turnips
sugar beets
forage collards

But other fall mixes have similar components.
 
I have been using a disk but really am wanting a tiller. As far as time spent and fuel a tiller does a quicker and more thorough job.

That's the conclusion I'm coming to, especially with a compact tractor. I watch my neighbor work a field (he puts a couple acres of corn on my place) and it's night and day what a "real" disc can do compared to my 6.5'.
 
A large field a disk can be an advantage but for food plot size areas a tiller is a better option. Takes quite a few passes with a disk to get the same result. But in a large field you can cover more area.
 
THANKS, BTW How d o you like the Plot Topper?? This will be my 1st year using it.
I think it's a winner. I like seeing the late season green tops from the turnips and radishes. The deer like them too.
I have been known to dig one out and peel it from my stand for a bit of a snack. 20170806_193255.jpg 20170806_171015(0).jpg my son sells the plot topper and other Real World plot seed.
 
I use a disc only when needed. I use a no till method with great success also. Check out Whitetail Habit Solutions for the run down on how it works. Jeff’s idea to use Buckwheat is genius. I’ve done it several times.
 
We mow and then spray roundup. Wait two weeks and work the food plots with a Plot-Master. Its basically a row of notched discs followed by two rows of spring tines. This year we actually spread fertilizer just before plowing and worked it in with the Plot-Master We then go over it with a convectional two row disc. This produces a pretty nice seed bed. Spread the seed with a rotary spreader on the back of a UTV and then drag a harrow over the seeds if the particular seed calls for it. We just finished working up and planting a bit over 5 acres (across 10 plots) for this coming season. Planted lots of oats, greens, turnips and radishes. Hopefully we have some big turnips by the time season in, I like eating a turnip while in the stand.
 
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I use a tiller for the garden. A disk can be run at a much higher land speed and is a more durable piece of equipment.
 
I use both. Hard compacted soil needs a tiller. Small plots(1/4-1/3 acre) in areas that aren't suitable for the tractor or UTV get a walk behind tiller. If the ground has been recently worked or is soft/wet, then a disc works just fine. Sometimes it just comes down to what you can afford or have on hand at the moment. The 5' 3-point tiller gives the best seed bed for perennials like clover/alfalfa/chicory. If those are going to be frost seeded after a fall crop, or in the spring, it makes for the smoothest field for mowing(which those need). For Beans/peas and corn, that will be replanted in the same next time, a disc works just as well.
 
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I used to use a disc until I bought a tiller. Now I use 6' tiller behind my 39hp Kubota. I don't have rocks to deal with, just the occasional tree root. The tiller is much more flexible, I can back it into a tight opening or corner. I also use it to make drainage channels at the uphill side of my plots where needed so my seeds don't get washed away before they sprout.
 
I use a tiller for the garden. A disk can be run at a much higher land speed and is a more durable piece of equipment.
I've been doing custom tillage on food plots, lawns/gardens/fields and truck gardens for MANY years, I no longer even have a disc. I'm not sure how you came up with those idea's.

NOW, all tillers are NOT created the equal, so IF you are talking about a cheapo tiller, then yes, they won't take a lot of rocks ect.. But, if you are talking about a tiller like a Howard, then I completely disagree with you!

I have a 6' Howard that has over 2000 acres on it and it's never had a bearing/chain or gearbox problem. I do have to replace tines every so often and if you have a LOT of bigger rocks/fence post ect., you will have to replace drive line clutch plates from time to time.

I have three Howards, they are totally reliable and do a much better job with tillage, with less pass' than a disc.

BTW, disc wear out too...

DM
 
I've been doing custom tillage on food plots, lawns/gardens/fields and truck gardens for MANY years, I no longer even have a disc. I'm not sure how you came up with those idea's.

Just my experience. I have never been able to run a tiller at the same ground speed as a disk, there is no PTO, drive shaft, gear box/belt arrangement on the disk and disks are more robust than the tines.
 
Just my experience. I have never been able to run a tiller at the same ground speed as a disk, there is no PTO, drive shaft, gear box/belt arrangement on the disk and disks are more robust than the tines.
That is the beauty of a tiller. You may go a little slower ground speed, but you only have go over it once. Definitely faster and more thorough than a disc overall.
 
On average, I run my ground speed at about 2.75 mph with my two bigger tillers, on the smaller one, I stay in gardens and those folks want you to go slow. They "think" they are getting more for their money, but they don't know anything about soil structure, and it all pays the same to me.

DM
 
Never planted food plots before, but this thread might change my mind. Relied on crop plantings from surrounding farms. Have a 6' 3pt tiller and tractor, may give this a try. Thanks.
 
Never planted food plots before, but this thread might change my mind. Relied on crop plantings from surrounding farms. Have a 6' 3pt tiller and tractor, may give this a try. Thanks.

Careful, it's addictive.

You'll become convinced the deer taste better. Then comes the tree plantings as a more permanent solution/augmentation to annual food plots. Before you know it deer season lasts about 300 days due to prep work...
 
There's a big difference between a garden tiller and a Howard field tiller... Here's what one pass, reclaiming an old pasture looks like, (after rotary cutting it)

Rob-rotavating-photo-2.jpg

I've never seen any disc that could make a seed bed like that in one pass, and in the past I've owned several different disc.

The tiller above, has over 2,000 acres on it with no major repairs, and it's still making money!

DM
 
they don't know anything about soil structure…

That is a good point, there is a pretty big difference between the sandy loam at out farm and the blackland soil we have at our home. Different implements do work better in different soils.

This tiller would be a nice step above the disk harrows we have, a bit overkill for what I use our 3 pt tiller for though. Maybe some day….

 
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