Farm implements are heavy


Farm implements are heavy

After watching a number of YouTube videos, I figured out how to drive the Kubota. Not hard, thankfully it has an automatic transmission (Hydro-Static Transmission in farm speak).

Now that I could drive the tractor, I wanted to start preparing the land for spring planting. There is a lot of discussion on the internet about if, when and how much a farmer should till. In my case, the soil is Cole Clay Loam, which gets a very hard when dry. California has experienced 5 years of drought, the soil was very, very hard and needed to be churned up. My plan was to till once in the winter and then a final time in the spring. The final step would be constructing the raised beds for planting the berry bushes.

Getting a 3 point, PTO driven implement on a tractor requires much patience and a little luck. I watched several YouTube videos before starting. The big problem with farm implements is that they are very heavy. The tiller weighs in at a hefty 1500 pounds, meaning you have to move the tractor to connec the tiller, because you are not going to move the tiller.

The connection process goes something like this:

  1. Back up the tractor to the implement
  2. Move the tractor forward, back, left, right an inch at a time, until your three control arms on the tractor align with the holes on the implement
  3. Connect the adjustable control arm to implement
  4. Hopefully other arms align to holes, if not, go back to (2)
  5. After three control arms are secure, connect drive shaft (PTO).

I took me two and a half hours to get the tiller connected to the tractor.

I was ready to start my first farmer task, tilling the soil. First, let’s consider the ground that I am about to till.

The 10 acre parcel had been part of a large walnut orchard. The trees had not been tended for several years and many had died in the drought. We had the orchard removed in 2015. The team that removed the orchard focused on the stumps and roots. There were still a few partially burned stumps dotted on the property, but not much else visible to the naked eye.

I moved the tractor to tilling position. Lowered the tiller, turned it on and began my slow movement forward.

***BAM**, ***Grind****, ***Crunch**** I had gotten no more than 10 feet and the tractor ground to a halt. Pieces of wood exploded from the tiller. Oh dear! I got off the tractor and opened the back gate and saw that there was a 4 foot log jammed into the tiller blades. Not to be deterred, I cleared the log and started again.

***BAM**, ***Grind****, ***Crunch**** I made it 6 feet this time.

I walked in front of the tractor for several feet, but did not see any logs or sticks. What was going on? I grabbed a shovel and started poking it in the ground. After ten or so pokes, I realized that just under the surface, there were many, many logs.

Tilling is done for now, I need a new plan