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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I recently traded my ATV for a tractor in order to do bigger food plots. I have a brush hog and am looking for a few more implements. My question is this, How does a heavy-duty 6 ft rototiller work on virgin fields? We've brushhogged and disked in the past with so-so results. I'm either going to try the rototiller option (after brushhogging) or buy a cultivator and use it in conjuction with the disk (after brushhogging). The rototiller would eliminate one step but I'm concerned it would get clogged or choked up with the grasses etc. Has anyone used one on a new field? Any advice would be appreciated....thanks
 

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Our camp uses a garden size rototiller and has no problems. We just take it slow and easy and work it through several times.
 

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It is rough on the tractor when you till up a virgin field. I don't have the money to buy a new machine, so I have a JD 1050 with about 2K hours on it. I can really tell when that tiller goes on virgin soil. It labors quite noticeably. Even in the lowest gear. So, I don't know if I would advise using your tiller on unbroken soil. That's just my .02.
 

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Working a virgin field with a tiller is going to give you undesireable results if your root systems are still alive. Spend a couple months spraying herbicide to kill off everything and then, if you decide to purchase a tiller, you will have great results and the tractor won't have to work so hard.
 

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I know this will get the other members fired up because they have read Ed Spin's book and they quote it religiously on this site 4" 4" 4" but here goes. As mentioned by StoneyCreek you surely need to spray your plot a few weeks before your intended planting date. And I still say there is nothing like rolling that dead matter into the earth with a MOLD BOARD PLOW. Nothing helps build up your soil like dead matter. I use mine when I am doing the virgin ground breaking on a new piece of ground and have had great results. After that i'm sure you could rototill your plot every year after with no problems. I mean for years farmers have and still do use mold board plows and I am one of them. In fact I put some of my own plots in last weekend and they have been plowed in the past and they all disked up fine:tdo12:
 

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I forgot to add that a rototiller will run you a couple thousand dollars. Even used ones are very expensive. But you can pickup a one or 2 bottom plow for a couple hundred dollars. You could use your extra money to buy a nice heavy disk and drag either chain or spike tooth and you have everything you need to get started food plotting. Good Luck.
 

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He used a Moldboard plow and his old JD tractor. He's been plowing his food plot for 40 year with that old JD and his Moldboard plow. I think the plot is about 1 acre in size. He put 50lbs. of 12-12-12 down + roundup to kill the weeds. The ground has a lot of clay in it, not that rich black dirt but brown looking dirt. He has the nicest looking beans you could ask for. Back to your questions. I have a 6 foot tiller for my tractor and it does a great job if you don't have ROCKS :yikes:. Also they cost a lot. Do as stoneycreekhabitatspecial and others say and kill of the field before you try to till it. Good luck.
 

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It is rough on the tractor when you till up a virgin field. I don't have the money to buy a new machine, so I have a JD 1050 with about 2K hours on it. I can really tell when that tiller goes on virgin soil. It labors quite noticeably. Even in the lowest gear. So, I don't know if I would advise using your tiller on unbroken soil. That's just my .02.
I'd agree with the above post. A rototiller isnt ideal for busting up unbroken fields. My preference is using a real HD disc pulled by a BIG tractor after killing off the field and brush hogging prior to the discing.

But for everything after that, the 'tiller is the bee's knees. For tilling under green manure crops and working up logging decks and walking trails, the tiller is far superior to any mold board plow ever made. The seedbed prep is far superior to any discing I have seen too. You guys can the debate the merits of your mold board plows with Ed Spin if ya wanna, but my money's on ED!:D

Oh, and by the way, I found a name brand Italian made 3pt tiller, in almost new condition, for waaaaay less than 2K. You just have to look around a little.:rolleyes:

NB
 

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We started food plots by using the tractor. Did not have the roto. Spent the first two seasons getting the soil the way we wanted it. I am sure the roto would have gotten it done the first time the first season. But at what expense??

This year my cousin went and bout a small garden roto. He likes the idea of doing "strips" of food plot vs. the plot lot. His thinking is the big boys like there own little spot, in/near cover.


We'll see how it works.
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
Thanks for the info. It sounds like a rototiller does a good job once a new field has been sprayed and disked or plowed at least once. I have 20 inches of black muck on my property, so I think the tiller should do just fine at the right time of year. My father-in-law has a 3pt tiller (4ft) that I'm going to try next year. If I like the results, I'll probably purchase something a little bigger. I have a 45 hp tractor, so I'm sure it could handle a 6 footer and maybe even bigger.
 

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I have a 45 hp tractor, so I'm sure it could handle a 6 footer and maybe even bigger.
I'm sure it can. My 4WD Kubota is 32 hp and handles a five footer just dandy. I'll just add that the tiller saves me alot of time, compared to discing multiple times and then using various types of drags to get the same, smooth seedbed as the tiller gives in one pass.:D

NB
 

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The guys who said use a mold board this year have got it right. You should be able to pick one up very cheap and sell it next year for what you paid for it. Some of my plots were 100% bush when I started. I used a box blade as a root rake and my 2 bottom pulled up the smaller stuff. It was labor intensive but I have beautiful plots where none existed. Don't forget urea, it feeds the soil microbes which in turn decay the remaining roots.
 

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I have a 6' tiller that I paid $1000 for at TSC for 4 years ago. To me it is the greatest implement there is. I have a disc that I am going to sell because the tiller works so much better. For virgin ground with unsprayed sod it will take 2 passes then wait a week and take 2-3 more passes. I will say that the disk is a little to big for my tractor so it takes like 10 passes to match two tiller passes.
 

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Spray, get a good kill, and rototill. I've had no problems on sod with heavy soil. In some cases, more than one spraying may be necessary, and maybe a pass with a bush hog if you've got some shrubbery.

My disc hasn't budged in three years.
 

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My nephew just worked up our camp's buckwheat plot with tractor and 6 foot rototiller and it worked great. Will take very little work to get it ready for planting in a couple of weeks.
 

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i agree with the guys spray it first then till. i do about 50acres every couple yrs with a 35hp case tractor and a 6ft tiller. i till it and let sit about a month then spray it for new weeds let sit a week then a light rake and plant. i put down clover and use 0-20-20 because clover makes enough nitrogen on it own.
 

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I've used a 45 hp tractor and 6' tiller to do a fair amount of work. Currently making the rest of my yard. If you have some time, I've found that even without brush hogging you can till live weeds up and incorporate them into the soil without much problem. You need to go slow the first pass, do a second and possibly third pass and let the ground sit. 1-2 weeks later till again (weeds start popping), 1-2 weeks till again, until ready to plant. Repeat tilling before the weeds seed helps lessen weeds. Spraying would be good also, but I like seat time on the tractor.:) Works well for food plots and lawn production. Don't forget to pick rocks after each tilling as they are hard on machine.
 
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