Maine Organic Farmers and Gardeners Association
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An Inexpensive Tillage Tool

Photo by Ben Hoffman

Photo by Ben Hoffman

December 2019

After reading Edward H. Faulkner’s “Plowman’s Folly,” I was sold on disc plows rather than moldboard plows. Sixty years later, however, finding a disc plow that was not far away and not worn out was impossible, so I bought a rototiller. But my Farmall Cub disc hillers, used for ditching, terracing, cultivating and making narrow raised beds, gave me an idea. My make-anything neighbor, Bruce, had made a simple A-frame for the drawbar of my little John Deere, so I had him make some additions (see photo.)

First, we bolted two pieces of 1-1/2-inch square steel tubing to the drawbar to hold International Harvester (IH) cultivator wedge clamps. While IH hillers would fit fine, the new 16-inch hiller shanks were too small in diameter. Fortunately, Bruce had some other clamps, shown mounted on the front of the drawbar, that fit the shanks. Both clamps are available from Agri Supply (agrisupply.com).

My next problem: no down pressure on my 3-point hitch, and several cinder blocks did not add enough weight. I was able to plow previously disturbed soil enough to plant potatoes, but the discs would not cut turf. Since my neighbor’s tractor has down pressure, he is now using the rig. A longer drawbar would mean better spacing and enable making raised beds in his organic garden.

– Ben Hoffman
Bradford, Maine

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