A couple of blogs ago, we described the “tools of our trade”. To summarize, we mostly garden with “human-powered” tools, but we also farm with some mechanization.
With that in mind, we are trying to anticipate our future equipment needs for making that (“knock on wood”) successful transition from market gardeners to small farmers with about 8 acres of tillage. By doing this now, we hope to be better situated not only to make good selections, but know the financial needs and plan according. As of now, there are a few known tillage equipment gaps that we would like to fill:
- 35-40 hp tractor, with creeper gear, power steering, high clearance
- chisel plow
Of high importance for us is to choose equipment that supports our soil conservation plan and utilizes minimum tillage. We want to work the soil in a sustainable, earth-friendly way.
The chisel plow was selected because it does not invert the soil profile. The chisel plow performs the initial loosening of the soil while leaving the cover crop reside on top. The spader is also great tillage tool because the spading action loosens the soil across the bed but its motion does not compact or smear the soil at the bottom of its travel. [Market Farm Implement Online Catalog]
For the chisel plow and spader selection, our research keeps leading us to “Market Farm Implement“. They specialize in vegetable crop machinery from tillage to harvest and are located in Friedens, Pennsylvania. What we like to most is that their equipment is very much suited for the small farmer.
In our research, one equipment company from down-under got us especially excited. Upon reading about their equipment, we immediately ordered their catalogue and are anxiously awaiting for its arrival. Based on the huge number of seed and farm catalogues that we already recieve that’s a big deal. Anyway, the Yeoman’s story goes like this:
“The only implement that we found that suited was the American Graham Hoeme Chisel Plow from Amarillo, Texas, first developed in the 1930s. So we visited them and did a deal to make the plows in Australia under license. (Hence our US spelling of plough.)
The plow worked, but for deep working, that’s subsoil cultivation, soil layer mixing was still excessive. So in the 1960s we started designing a deep working, deep tillage implement, which ultimately became known as the Yeomans Keyline Plow.
Keyline puts emphasis on cheap and rapid increases in soil organic matter, humus and humic acid in the soil. And that produces massive productivity increases.
So that’s what this plow is all about. Buy one, they’ve become a hell of a good piece of machinery.”
For the tractor, it will most likely have to be a used one “in good condition” in order to make it affordable. (Tractors can be a subject for another blog all to itself.)