Join Date: Apr 2011
Location: central Alberta
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Quoted: 99 Post(s)
Harrows, many questions
Looking into making a giant leap backwards in technology, but need more info. Considering transitioning to Organic Production. Currently no till except for hay sod, deep ruts or sometimes, manure incorporation. I quit using harrows except in rare cases even before switching to no till.
But, under the organic scenario, I'd need to relearn what previous generations knew about weed control and making weeds germinate with harrows.
I assume that a vibrating tine harrow is best for pulling a weed out and shaking the dirt off? Will diamond harrows serve the same purpose, does a heavy harrow have the same action, or too stiff for that purpose?
As for post emergence harrowing, I use a concord drill with no harrows, closers or rotary harrows which leaves very deep furrows( and I prefer it that way for many reasons), my thought is that I could harrow across those furrows quite aggressively, and not physically damage the emerged crop down in the furrow, other than burying some plants. Following that logic, it seems that a rigid harrow (Diamond) would be better yet, since the teeth can't get into the furrow as easily as a tine or flexible harrow, seem reasonable?
Do not own a heavy harrow, and have never seen much use for one, I currently seed into extremely thick, often poorly spread residue and haven't found the need. But, how unaggressive can they be set? Could they do weeding, or would they just level out the furrow and completely bury the crop?
We used to use chain harrows on pastures and hayfields, but I never could figure out the purpose, and they plug on everything, however new ones have much longer teeth and more clearance. I know very little about the Phoenix rotary harrows or Mcfarlanes, and other types. Any other viable options?
Our soil is grey wooded. A polite word for clay that compacts very easily, then works up into concrete blocks the size of basketballs. Tine harrows and concrete lumps don't play nicely together, lumps win everytime, diamond harrows and concrete lumps get along better. That said, I have gained a lot of Fibre since, and with organic would be adding a lot with plowdowns, and plan to still find a way to keep some no till in the rotation so the compaction and lumps should be less of an issue.
And the last question, do the autofold harrows really autofold and unfold as promised? Do some brands work better than others for that, any to avoid, built too light etc? I have a 120' Flexicoil sprayer with autofold, and with everything set right, it autofolds perfectly, but sometimes tramples a half mile of crop before it decides to unfold. Has there ever been a mounted diamond harrow bar? chains wearing, and harrows tangling up don't excite me at all.
There is a whole other conversation to be had about the sustainability of going from no till back to intensive tillage, all because the misinformed organic consumer believes it is more "sustainable" and "green", but I'll save that for it's own thread.