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Question About Styles Of Disc Harrows

disc harrow style size type

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#1 HowardsMF155 OFFLINE  

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Posted March 11, 2012 - 08:16 PM

Brief introduction here: I grew up on a farm, but we moved away about the time I turned 18. We were kind of isolated, so I didn't always get exposed to alternatives to the things Dad was doing. Anyway, I want to get a disc harrow for my garden and wanted to ask some questions about the way the different styles work. The first style has a single row of discs with two gangs:
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/
The gangs either throw dirt in, or throw dirt out. Is that more for weed control than a serious follow up to plowing?

The style I am familiar with:
\../
.\/.
would leave a furrow only on one side and you would cover that up with your next pass.
The other style I see a lot of is the two row, four gang type:
\ /
/ \
To me, it looks like this style would leave a small furrow on each side of the disc, no matter how you ran it. Would love to hear from people about each style, how best to use it, and which one you prefer.

Thanks
Howard


#2 Lauber1 OFFLINE  

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Posted March 11, 2012 - 09:15 PM

Well i ll try and help you out with disc's or disc harrows as they are offically called. The reason you see single gang units is because when orginally designed that was all a team or pair of teams could pull. As tractor power came about you got a wider singel units or a double harrow, which is what you last pictogram is. Your middle one is called an offset disc, which doesnt leave as much of a ridge as the single or double gangs do. A spiked toothed harrow would either be following the single gang or in the case of a tractor, pulled along behind the double.

There is another type called a disc tiller, which looks similar to a disc plow, but has all the blades mounted on a single shaft, at an angle with wheels at both ends to control it and lift it. A disc plow differs by having each disc on its only stub shaft, with no connection between them.

Most of the time discing in the garden is limited to how much power you can put to the ground, with most only being able to manage a single row of blades. They will ridge, but you can go over it after words with a drag or harrow to even it out.
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#3 trowel OFFLINE  

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Posted March 11, 2012 - 09:16 PM

This should be a good thread,
In my opinion the disk can be used in more then one way for several different applications as per to the type of disks because you also have notched disks, disk plows and harrow packers.
My gardens has always been small, 50 feet by 30 feet is getting to big for me so i don't use the 4 gang types. With the 2 gang after plowing in new sod i would throw in to break up the clods with the disks almost touching in the center over laping the passes, then throw out to spread the soil with a space between the disk in the center and over lap the passes then follow with a Spike Tooth Harrow or Spring Tine Harrow, for an old garden that has not been covered in winter greens sometimes i just use the disk and throw in, then smooth out and pick out the trash with the spike tooth.
For weeding i have always used cultrivators but that's another thread.
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#4 IHCubGuy ONLINE  

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Posted March 11, 2012 - 09:54 PM

Lauber and Trowels covered it pretty good but I'll throw in my 2 cents.

Your last picture like said above is a double or "tandem" disk. This is what is most prevolently used on farms and is mainly a "finish" disk. The front gangs are set to throw the dirt out and the back gangs pull the dirt back in to finish mixing it and put it back. When dealling with these on a farm the outer blades on the back are usually progessively smaller on the last few blades in order to leave the field even.

The offset style is used more as a "cutting" disk than a finish disk. They also tend to pull somewhat crooked and usually the hitch is set to one side of the disk to compensate for this.

For a small garden tractor I would end up with the first style or the "single" action disk. I would set it to throw the dirt out with the outer ends of the gang set ahead of the inner.

What are your soil conditions and do you intend on doing anything other than using the disk? I don't think the results will be to productive in untilled soil. You will have to plow or rototill fist more than likely.
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#5 HowardsMF155 OFFLINE  

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Posted March 11, 2012 - 10:13 PM

What are your soil conditions and do you intend on doing anything other than using the disk? I don't think the results will be to productive in untilled soil. You will have to plow or rototill fist more than likely.



My soil is an established garden. It's probably a good loam mix by now. I would use the disk as a follow up to plowing, also to mix purchased compost into the upper layer of soil. Probably use it to cut down on weed growth during times I don't have a crop down.

#6 HowardsMF155 OFFLINE  

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Posted March 11, 2012 - 10:26 PM

Your middle one is called an offset disc, which doesnt leave as much of a ridge as the single or double gangs do. A spiked toothed harrow would either be following the single gang or in the case of a tractor, pulled along behind the double.

A disc plow differs by having each disc on its only stub shaft, with no connection between them.

Most of the time discing in the garden is limited to how much power you can put to the ground, with most only being able to manage a single row of blades. They will ridge, but you can go over it after words with a drag or harrow to even it out.


"Drag Harrow" We didn't have one, and Dad didn't have the money to spend. He split some large trees, nailed them into a sled with the rounded side down, and we would drag that behind the disc after an initial pass has smoothed things out.

"Disc Plow" Turned many acres with that. In fact, I never used a moldboard plow until this past spring with my Massey 12. That disc plow did a marvelous job though. We were clearing and plowing new ground and I don't remember ever breaking anything as that disc would just ride up and over roots, rocks, and stumps.

"Power Limited" My existing disc, like the first one pictured, seems to put very little strain on the tractor. Does it need to be angled to cut more agressively?

#7 trowel OFFLINE  

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Posted March 11, 2012 - 10:34 PM

I'll teach you a neat trick passed to me,
If you grow a winter green and there is a lot of trash/greens in the garden till/chop it up with the disk untill it's fine then put on the manure/compost and lime, spread it with the disk, then plow it in, disk that in, spike tooth it smooth then use the hilling plow or furrower and put in the rows (if your making beds), the chopped trash/greens and manure will be buried deep promoting deep root growth and will spend the seasons composting, in the fall lightly till the trash with the disk and cover with winter greens, in the spring repeat the process, sooner or lator you won't need as much manure, only lime to keep the soil sweet and PH down to optimum nutrition.
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#8 trowel OFFLINE  

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Posted March 11, 2012 - 10:38 PM

"Power Limited" My existing disc, like the first one pictured, seems to put very little strain on the tractor. Does it need to be angled to cut more agressively?


Yes, the steeper the angle the more it cuts and digs deeper but only to a point, adding weight helps too, you don't want to bury the disk so it won't throw or chop the clods.
To use as a chopper keep the disks straight or it will throw up the stalks and wind it around the shaft.
With heavy clods i start off with a slight angle untill the clods are cut down or the disk will be flopping back and forth like a fish, then make the angle more aggressive so it will dig and throw the clods.

Edited by trowel, March 11, 2012 - 10:43 PM.


#9 Lauber1 OFFLINE  

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Posted March 11, 2012 - 11:19 PM

"Drag Harrow" We didn't have one, and Dad didn't have the money to spend. He split some large trees, nailed them into a sled with the rounded side down, and we would drag that behind the disc after an initial pass has smoothed things out.

It was pretty standard for farmers to use what ever they had back in the day. Lots of folks here used logs and old tires on cables to smooth out the ground. We always had iron frame spike harrows for oat seeding, some spring tine ones on the back of the disc, and later on got a harrow-gator that was a whole other type of machine.

"Disc Plow" Turned many acres with that. In fact, I never used a moldboard plow until this past spring with my Massey 12. That disc plow did a marvelous job though. We were clearing and plowing new ground and I don't remember ever breaking anything as that disc would just ride up and over roots, rocks, and stumps.

We had the roots here but never rocks, unless we were farmer an old building site. You never knew what you was going to bring up at those places. Horse shoes seemed to be the biggest trouble as they showed up in the darnest palces, like the point of the plow or stuck to a cultivator shovel. Some times you would even drag home an old trace chain.

"Power Limited" My existing disc, like the first one pictured, seems to put very little strain on the tractor. Does it need to be angled to cut more agressively?

If you put the disc angle to the max, youll strain the tractor and might not even be able to pull it very far, depending on the ground. a disc only needs to be half the distance of the blade, between the axil and the ground. If your blade is 12" then 3" is about how deep you should be cutting in to avoid sever ridges that you will just have to go back and smotth over. I dont really worry about the ridges, because the DB gods gave us the Harrow Packer. This attachment let you use spring teeth to pull up clods and then follows with beveled roller to mash and level out the ground. Sometimes you can just go over plowed ground with the packer and be done. I have one for both my 35 Handiman and for the postwar DB tractors, with the older one weighting over 200#. At one time it was all the rage to plow, disc, harrow and then smash the ground down flat as a board. Later common sence stepped in and said why are you packing it down hard and making a perfect bed for the weeds, and that practice is pretty much gone.



#10 HowardsMF155 OFFLINE  

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Posted March 12, 2012 - 11:16 AM

I'll check and see but I think my disc has only been diggin in one or two inches. Looks like I should work with it some more. I do think it is set as agressive as possible.

#11 Reverend Blair OFFLINE  

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Posted March 12, 2012 - 06:52 PM

Weight is your friend if you want more depth. Try putting some cindercrete blocks on top of your disc.

If you're just breaking up clumps, a straight configuration seems to work pretty well. Lots of weight, and run it both ways.

If you want it to dig deeper, try putting the cups of the discs pointing forward. Start with the least aggressive angle and work your way up to get the closest to desired depth without over-straining your tractor.

You asked about other uses. Something I have seen video of, but never tried, is to point the cups in and use it to hill row crops by keeping the disc centered over the row. This weeds and hills at the same time. I'm thinking it would be dandy for onions, carrots and other low crops.

As for drag harrows, if you live in a rural area they are pretty much free now. Old sections of them, usually 4x4, populate the weeds and bushes of many old farmsteads. Keep your eyes open and you'll find some. I like to chain them behind just about everything and drag them around.
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#12 HowardsMF155 OFFLINE  

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Posted March 12, 2012 - 07:42 PM

I did some more work today with my disc. It is set at the most aggressive angle. I added another 90 Lbs on top of the 55 I had used at first. That got it down into the 2-3 inch depth range. I finally felt like it was fluffing the ground up and not just scratching the surface up.

#13 Reverend Blair OFFLINE  

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Posted March 13, 2012 - 05:48 AM

Glad to hear you are getting the results you are after. Extra weight is a big part of ground engaging implements, especially with GTs.

#14 trowel OFFLINE  

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Posted March 13, 2012 - 07:38 PM

That's great to hear, you got it now.
It sounds like your soil is hardpan, here in Ma it took some getting use to with the soft rocky mountain soil.

#15 MH81 ONLINE  

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Posted March 13, 2012 - 10:19 PM

Glad you're getting some results, how's the tractor handling it?




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