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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I am in the process of purchasing a new Kubota L3400 series tractor--I currently have a 3-pt disc but am wondering if a 3-pt tiller will do a better job in working up the soil. A new tiller will run me about 1300 bucks. So I am wondering if a tiller is worth the money!

thanks---hope you don't mind an Okie sticking his nose in here:)

todd
 

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Go with the disk and don`t disk to a depth of more than 4". Ed Spinazzloa, Michigan`s food plot expert, recommends against tilling for food plots.
 

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OK,

Welcome. There are a few Kubota owners here (L3010 myself). I have a 6 1/2 ft NH disc with notched blades and added weight. Its OK for some things. But it takes forever and does a poor job of chopping up and incorporating buckwheat, winter wheat, grain rye. etc as "green manure" crops into our "sandy loam" soils. We need more organic material in our soil.
BTW, several good comments on KK brand here, What brand are you looking at? Good luck.

Natty B.
 

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I have a 48 hs L4610 4x4 Kubota and even my tractor is on the light side(6000#'s) for pulling a substantially heavy disc. Like natty said, a tiller will do a much better job at incorperating organic material into your soil and you can do it with just 1 pass, or 2 at the most. Sure, you can go faster with a disc, but speed doesn't necessarily = Quality. You are probably between 1/2 hour to an hour per acre with a tiller, but you are left with an awesome seed bed. The resulting seed be is what makes a tiller worth it. Look at all the beautiful gardens that are worked with tillers.

I work my soil to approximately 4" deep, fertalizing first. What you are left with is 6 inches of fluff, with deep crevices and cracks exposed. I then broadcast my seed, and follow up with my ATV and 30 gallon lawn roller. I am considering a 6' cultipacker purchase, but either way, you have to compact that soil and seed together.....that is a must.

Planting by tilling is about the best method to work your fields. I would think the next best way would be a no-till drill, but at around $5000, it is cost prohibitive for me right now.

Also, a new quality disc with decent weight isn't much difference in price from a new KK tiller, which is what I have.

I have to be honest, I don't have a disc and would like to try one, but I have heard too many stories of guys making multiple passes to cut through a sod base and you are not left with the quality of seed bed a tiller leaves. At the same time, my local ag extension agent has said there is absolutely no better way to mix lime into the soil than with tilling.

I think for the size tractor you have, you'll end up with a lot better seed bed with a tiller. The only negative I can see is if you have a substantial amount of rocks or stumps in your soil. FYI, Neil Dougherty of North Country Whitetails told me last year he really likes using his tiller.

This year I may try something different too. I will first broadcast my fertalizer and maybe even double my cereal grain rate, broadcast, and then till.

Did Ed really make a general statement like that about tillers? If so, that maybe because of Ed's farming background and working large acreage parcels. If you have 10-12 acres or less to work though, a tiller may very well be what you need.
 

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Tillers are a great option to have in your food plotting arsenal. As Jeff said above rocks,roots and debris can be hard on tillers where as a disk is less prone to be bothered by debris. I simply set my tiller to float in order to combat this problem. When the tiller hits something hard like a rock it will actually bounce completely out of the ground and over the obstruction. I have ran my tiller through a wide range of conditions over the last 7 years and it is still going strong.

The use of a tiller with a good heavy cultipacker makes food plotting easy. Make one nice slow pass over the seed bed with the tiller. Next use the cultipacker to firm up the site before broadcasting especially if your planting clovers etc.. Make one more pass with the cultipacker after broadcasting the seed.

I think Ed prefers a disk over a tiller as he uses his disk to incorporate larger seeds such as soybeans, wheat and oats into the soil. This is where a disk outperforms a tiller as you can control the depth your burying the seed alot easier with a disk.

Tillers are much better at preparing a good quality seed bed in the least amount of time, but if your planning on planting larger seeds and don't have a seed drill maybe you would be better off with a disk.
 

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I actually have both a 3-pt disc and a pto driven rototiller and use them each for different purposes. I have never used a transport disc and cant really comment on them.

You simply cannot beat the rototiller for smaller foodplots in woodland openings. Its a lot easier to handle in smaller spaces and you can generally go from sod to seedbed in one pass.
The rototiiller is also better an chopping up organic matter that is left behind if you are applying herbicide and tilling in the same season.

The disadvantage of the rototiller is that you must also have a roller or cultipacker to compact the seedbed before and after seeding. This is also a good idea when using the disc, but not as esential.

I use the disc for much larger foodplots in areas where I can make long passes and turns without having to lift the disc to position the tractor. I prepare thiese fields by spraying the previous summer and fall and then letting the filed sit over the winter. This makes the sod less of a problem.

I really dont know which is faster, one slow pass with the tiller or several faster passes wiht the disc,


Bottom line
I have both and I use both, but if I had to choose one over the other I would go with the tiller.
 

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I do foodplots in Montmorency county, a disc is the best. It may take me 4-6 passes to thoroughly chop up the initial food plot but after that the yearly food plot prep is one pass. I use a notched blade land pride 8 foot costs around $ 1,900. The notched blade helps to cut the sod.. Sometimes if I go too deep the disc gets some buildup.. Also, don't do it when the soil is wet.. it will bind up the disc..
Rocks and tree debris is a big problem the first year.. I've tried to remove as many as I can but every year mother nature pushes up more big rocks.. Overall, the disc does a great job, 1st year is tough but I do around 8 acres of foodplots and time is key..

I did consider a tiller, too expensive and way too slow.. plus the rocks...I don't need to stop every pass to unclog the tiller. decision was easy..

I did purchase a old JD 4-16 plow, spring reset plow..$500 real cheap, hardened tips.. I'm adding more food plots and last fall truned over another 5 acres.. Now this is farming.. It went real fast.. But you need power..

I have a JD5300, 4 wheel drive and my tires are loaded.. You will need 4 wheel drive to plow .. 4 wheel drive adds 50% more pulling power.. works great..

Good luck..
 

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Just a note, I've used mine for 3 seasons, sometimes twice a year on one plot, and I've had to stop only twice to remove buried cedar root balls from the tines. At the same time, I've removed some bowling ball sized rocks from my fields that the tiller just "bounced" over, like deerman suggested.

Thumbum, I've never cultipacked BEFORE I've seeded, after tilling....only after I've seeded. At the same time, large seed germination rates have been very succesful by using this method, as well as small seed germination rates.

If you have your last issue of Quarterly Whitetails, look at the two food plot pictures, including the trail where I was changing my camera film, and the plot with the multiple deer in the photo. Both plantings were created, limed, and herbacided approximately 1 month before planting, with a starting ph of around 4.0, and 4 tons of lime per acre applied. The trail plot was planted in Buck Forage Oats, after fertalizing, then tilling, then broadcasting seed, then rolling with a 3 gallon lawn roller behind an ATV. The other plot was planted in a rye/brassica/clover combo using the same planting. You can see the large seeds were not effected in any way by the planting method, and both soil types were a sandy loam.

The oats are the most critical to be covered in some way, but you can see how well they did while using the above method to plant.

I also have found that because of how a tiller works, mixing basically a tiller full of dirt together and re-distributing, your new planting will be more level with each planting. Any deep ruts in your field will be smoothed right over. Another thing too, as long as your tractor will drive through a wet area, the tiller will take a wet spot, "fluff it up", help dry the soil, and give you the ability to plant in an otherwise fairly damp field due to the fact you are not pulling an implement through the field. Remember too, if you have tilled, and it has been extremely wet, if it is too wet to cultipack, especially with an ATV and roller, you don't NEED to cultipack, because the soil will be damp enough to allow for immediate germination, and at the same time damp enough to allow for the soil to settle considerably while the young plant is taking root. I've had my ATV stuck in a new planting so bad I had to bring the tractor back when the soil dried and lift the ATV out with the FEL of the tractor. When it was that wet, the portions that were not cultipacked in the wet area grew great, but unfortunatley the dry enough portions to cultipack that I didn't because I was stuck, didn't come in as well. Basically, if you can till and get your tractor through, and don't expect additional rain...plant! If you find it too wet to cultipack, just leave it....I've had great luck with this.
 

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My KK has a slip clutch, if it encounters a big rock it stops and doesn't allow the tines to turn.

I have some boulders in some of my fields and I have yet to break a tine or encountered any problems with tilling.

One pass and done.

Best implement purchase by far.

Here is a pick of a PF winter survival mix plot after one pass with the KK last spring.



Here is one of a sod field after a spraying of glyophosate and one pass:

 

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What I haven't seen psted here is reference to your tractors gearing. To use a tiller effectively, the tractor has to be geared low enough. In other words, you want your RPM's high while the tractor is moving at a very slow speed. If your tractor is not geared low, forget the tiller and use a disk.
 

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I love the hydrostatic transmissions on these new tractors....works great with a tiller. Put it in "low" range, get your rpms up to the recommended setting, and set the cruise. Nothing like farming.:)
 

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I have never had a problem rototilling with either of my non-hydro tractors either. (how I wound up with 2 tractors is a long story)

I either use 1st gear high range or 2nd or 3rd gear in low range, open the throttle and let her rip. I have yet to encounter a tractor that didnt have a low enough gear to keep the RPM up and the ground speed low enough to run a tiller.
 

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I guess I need to rent a tiller, and give it a try? I have a 5 speed 800 series Ford. Most people tell me it will not run slow enough. I would like to try a tiller because, I have light sandy loam with no rocks. For the most part the disk works well, but sodded ground is a problem, and sometimes the disc dives to deep in the sandy areas.
 

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I just looked up the groundspeed table for my Yanmar 240D which is the tractor I ususally use for rototilling. These speeds are given at 2200RPM which gives me a PTO RPM of 540.

In 2nd gear the groundspeed is .90mph
in 3rd gear it is 1.37mph.

Normally I use 2nd gear for the first pass and 3rd for a second pass or if Im mixing in lime. Based on this I would think that any tractor geared to produce a groundspeed of 1.1 MPH or lower would work.

I also dont know the speeds for your Ford, but Im sure they can be easily found on the web. Those are very popular tractors.

Best bet would probably be to rent one and try it like you said.
 

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I have yet to encounter a tractor that didnt have a low enough gear to keep the RPM up and the ground speed low enough to run a tiller
ThumbBum,
Sounds like you've never had an encounter with a Ford8N. These old tractors were manufactured in the 1940's thru I believe 1951/52. Their primary use was brushhogging in tight areas, apple orchards etc... They are extremely dependable, which is why you see so many to this day. What they don't have is that creeper lowgear that you need to run a tiller. Very nice foodplot machine though. Easy to work on which is a big plus.
 

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Discussion Starter · #18 ·
Guys, thanks for all the great replies. I purchased the Kubota L3400 4X4---having an optional hydraulic plug installed (for my dad to use with a new rake). It will get delivered on Wednesday:). Atwoods, a local farm store, has a 5 ft KK-2 tiller priced at $1119. That is the cheapest I have been able to find it here. Tractor Supply Co. has a 5 ft tiller for 999.00 but it is not a KK--not sure on the brand--they didn't have the brand listed on their web site.

I have 2 pieces of land that I hunt and have food plots on both of them. One of the lands is pretty rocky but mainly smaller rocks. I try to clean up rocks everytime I am out there but they just seen to reappear everytime:( . The other property that I have is very clean land and would be great with a tiller. The only disc does do a good job but no matter how many times i go over it there always seems to large clumps of soil left--that is where I think the tiller would do a better job.

Will keep you posted on my decision--again I appreciate the help!
todd
 

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NorthJeff, NattyB., SwampGhost, ThumBumb,Deerman.
You guys need to take a collection up for me right now!! you all probably just cost me anouther thousand dollars or so in a tiller purchase!!!! lmao.
I used a tiller last year with the skid steer. It was labor intensive and a real pain in the behind (the bouncing for 3-4 hours made me hurt for 2 days) I was very impressed with the outcome though. This field was not planted for a couple of years and it turned out great. When putting together my wish list for this year, the tiller was not on it (nor are the funds). I will be buying one next spring for sure along with a cultipacker. For this year though its all I can do to buy a disk, it will be a KK box disk, I also JUST purchased a Woods rotary cutter (brush Hog) I went with the 5 footer with my 40hp NH. I think the 6ft would be ok but may be pushing its limits on quality of cut. Then Bishs posts a great option for this year, RENTING my god what was I thinking!!! LOL. I can rent one for this summer if my disk dont do the quality job I would like. Thanks for the great topic and posts! Its wonderfull to read and learn here, sometimes I get like a horse with blinders on and then someone whacks me in the back of the head with a great idea!!!!
Thanks alot
 

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Originally posted by NorthJeff
Did Ed really make a general statement like that about tillers?
This topic came up this past weekend at the Lansing Deer and Turkey Spectacular. Someone asked Ed about the article in the latest issue of Quality Whitetails about deep tilling. Ed`s response was, "the guy who wrote that article should be sued, and if you tell me you are going to till you can walk away now because I am done talking with you".

If you want Ed`s exact reasoning for not tilling you will have to ask him.
 
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