Saturday, May 25, 2013

Keep The Disk Or Sell It?

I haven't heard this question in years.  Should we keep the disk or sell it?

We used to disk the hell out of the ground.  All we did was tillage to produce livestock feed but gasoline was cheap;  I think the oil embargo of 1973 changed all of that.  The early pioneers of no-till we met at NNTC in Indianapolis in January were well on their way to successful notill farming before the embargo ever hit.

I just hate to sit on the tractor every spare hour, disking and grinding clods into tiny pieces until I used my brain to figure out how not to do that.  Some enjoy doing that but that is un-needed recreational compacting tillage I can't afford to do.  Now if I was organic, the disk might be an important tool to me.

Do you still disk ground?  Do you enjoy it?  The notill planter and drill took that all away from me and I was quickly glad to see it go.  I can't remember the last time I disked a field but it's been decades.



NoTill is not easy, I've never said it was but it sure beats disking in my mind.  My disk is mounted on a notill planter and cuts a true Vee to plant the seed into or it is notill disk opener that cuts a nice slit to slip my seed into.  It works pretty well and I probably wouldn't be farming without it.

It's beautiful weather in southwest Ohio again today but it is cool and it is damp.  We have not had good growing weather yet weather you till or not.  Some of the tillage guys have big muddy messes on their hands and I know for sure that doesn't promote a good seedbed for a new crop.

The wheat is the best looking crop around this year.  Somehow mine has escaped serious disease pressure so far.  The cooler temperatures have helped but that soil oxygen thing might really be working.

Ed Winkle

8 comments:

  1. it pained me to disk this year, and this farm especially, as it was where i started notill. but having pulled all the trees and old fencerows out of it, the disks were a nessasary evil to tie the smaller fields into one. it was some beautiful soil i broke up.

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  2. I like the disk for after dozer work too....only did tillage on one field this year so big change for me coming from working everything.

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  3. I find I am a lot more relaxed riding the tractor doing tillage than I am with the sprayer. With the sprayer I'm always under pressure from the weather. Too windy, too hot, too dry, too cold, too close to rain. All that expensive chemical in the tank and will I get three hours good spraying weather to empty it?? Out on the tractor and cultivator I can just sit back and watch the soil turn and the weeds die.

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  4. Thank you for your good comments! They are helpful to this blog.

    Ever since I learned in college that the tandem disk harrow is the major soil compaction tool on the farm, I have tried to run from it. That was a good choice for me.

    If you still think you have to disk, why? Is there a better alternative in the future? Maybe there isn't today but I bet you find a better way to solve your problems.

    Ed Winkle

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  5. I guess my problem is the heavy dependence on glyphosate and other chemicals as an alternative to tillage. I know tillage has plenty of drawbacks but I'm not comfortable with ever increasing exposure to the chemicals in herbicide either. No easy answer to this one .

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  6. Ralph you make a very good point. However, I can't allow the compaction or erosion from a disk here.

    No easy answer is really true.

    Ed

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  7. Sorry Dude I have to do some of the same thing but fortunately for me it is a very tiny part of the acreage until I get it all notilled and cover cropped.

    Ed Winkle

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