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View Full Version : Chisel plow ?? How much horesepower needed for


whitetail fanatic
08-18-2010, 10:05 PM
How much power is required to pull a chisel plow? I know this depends a lot on soil types, depth of plowing, vegetation cover (grass sod vs. a field that was corn last year, etc.) and other factors, but on average, what's it take?? I would be using it in semi-heavy soils, mostly loam/clay soils on our place. I've often read and/or heard it takes about 15 HP per shank, is that accurate? Also, does it make a difference if it is a "disk chisel" (one that has straight, verticle disks for cutting in front of the shanks) versus a chisel plow with shanks only and no disks?

Reason I'm asking, I'm considering buying one and I talked to a guy who has a 9 shank chisel plow for sale (with no disks) and he said he used it with a 65 HP tractor. He would remove the outer 2 shanks to make it a 7 shank when he was plowing sod, otherwise he used all 9. 9 shanks X 15 HP/shank = 135 HP, so I'm a bit confused about what it takes to pull one of these things.

cadizdeer1
08-18-2010, 10:43 PM
it all depends how deep you are plowing and what kind of soil

whitetail fanatic
08-18-2010, 10:48 PM
quote:"it all depends how deep you are plowing and what kind of soil"

Yeah, I knew that would come up, so I just added some more words to my first post before you posted that. See how it reads now.

thanks!

1ArTaxman
08-18-2010, 11:08 PM
I pull a heavy 10 shank chisel plow with a JD 4020, 90 hp and at times when the ground is heavy (moisture) the tractor strains pretty good.

CaveCreek
08-19-2010, 12:44 AM
The actual design of the shanks can vary some, and that can make a difference in hp requirement as well. More steel in the ground, means more resistance.

hrcarver
08-19-2010, 05:34 AM
I pull a 7 shank with 95hp jd. It doesn't work it hard. I'd look for a 7 shank keeping in mind the possibility of making a 5 shank, just in case. 7's are real common around here on small tobacco farms.

I suppose you could make a 9 shank a 5 shank if you had too.

Also, there is a wide range of 65hp tractor sizes(weight). One on the light end(like a 4720 jd at 3700lbs) is going to have a hard time too.

tractorg25
08-19-2010, 09:11 AM
general rule of thumb is bottom plows 10 hp per bottom, Rippers & Chiesel plows 30 hp per shank.

WTNUT
08-19-2010, 10:02 AM
Everyone has different experiences, but for us it depends a lot upon the design of the chisel plow as noted by someone. If it has a 2 inch or 4 inch blade, whether it is a 3pt mount or, and pull behind model.

For example, we have a few chisel plows and the best one I have by far is a five shank made by or for Massey Ferguson several years ago. I think the model number is 740. It is built like a tank and does a fantastic job on our smaller corn fields that I use for hunting plots. However, my general rule for chisel plows is 10hp per shank. With this plow having very wide chisel blades and being built like a tank, it is all a 90 plus hp tractor wants if the ground is even a little damp.

CaveCreek
08-19-2010, 03:36 PM
That hp requirement is going to be incredibly dependent on Length of shanks/ or depth the shanks are being run.

Pretty much physics that no wants to get into (including me):

Surface area of steel being pulled across surface area of resistance (i.e. soil).

Then factor in soil moisture, objects such as rocks, vegetation (quantity and type) and actual Soil Type and condition of Soil (huge factor).

I assume you are not wanting to subsoil, but to chisel. Which is generally used to help relieve compaction created by the tractor and equipment.

No comparison between running 10-12" deep and 18" deep.

After a person implements a deep tillage practice (if they use good crop rotations, i.e cover crop materials within their plots) they should not have to continue the original depth of engagement with a chisel or subsoiler.

They are good for an initial pass through vegetation, follow by a disk, or in a not till application (dependent on how much you roughen the soil with the chisel. In other words you might chisel 16 inches deep in year one, and then never chisel but maybe 12 inches deep in subsequent yrs, with good use of crop materials. But also it is typical to do a deep tillage maybe every 3rd season for improved avg depth of rooting by crops.

If radish, turnips, rye, vetch, sweetclover, sorghums, beans and or peas are roated through appropriately, then deep tillage will often NOT be necessary.

But the chisel can be good insurance. And great for easing strain and improving finished product with a tandem disk.

WesternNY
08-19-2010, 05:33 PM
I thought is was 10 HP per chisel, 20 HP per Bottom plow.:confused:

labdad
08-19-2010, 06:58 PM
I thought is was 10 HP per chisel, 20 HP per Bottom plow.:confused:

Thats what my grampa told me and he was never wrong....LOL

bhanks55
08-19-2010, 08:38 PM
I thought is was 10 HP per chisel, 20 HP per Bottom plow.:confused:

I'm pretty sure you are right.

CaveCreek
08-19-2010, 11:40 PM
I'm pretty sure the last three of ya'll are right.

And there's been and still is a many small N-model or Jubilee Type Ford tractor pulling doubles.

Blackjack
08-20-2010, 10:25 AM
I think 10 HP per shank is pretty accurate. I have a 7 shank 3 point John Deere chisel plow, the shanks are spring loaded, about 2-2.5 inches wide, no disks in front. I pulled it ok with a 75 HP tractor but it would bog down occasionally in clay but now with my 95 HP it pulls just find. Only problem is that if tends to pull up a lot of rocks. I like it though, I haven't used my plow since I got the chisel plow, makes for a nicer seed bed. Chisel, disk, culti-pack, plant. Maybe throw in a pass with the drag or field cultivator if I want a smoother seed bed or want to do some recreational tillage. :)

CaveCreek
08-20-2010, 02:20 PM
I think 10 HP per shank is pretty accurate. I have a 7 shank 3 point John Deere chisel plow, the shanks are spring loaded, about 2-2.5 inches wide, no disks in front. I pulled it ok with a 75 HP tractor but it would bog down occasionally in clay but now with my 95 HP it pulls just find. Only problem is that if tends to pull up a lot of rocks. I like it though, I haven't used my plow since I got the chisel plow, makes for a nicer seed bed. Chisel, disk, culti-pack, plant. Maybe throw in a pass with the drag or field cultivator if I want a smoother seed bed or want to do some recreational tillage. :)

Blackjack, pulling up those ROCKS, is about the only thing wrong with a chisel plow. And good lord knows, if you got them in reach of the chisel, you will find them. This is one reason , that shallower cultivation is sometimes a better option, even though sort of yeild may at some point be reduced. Also, a reason for no-till practices. If the rock are intermitten, it can still be worthwhile, if you have a bed of rocks at a certain depth, and you keep plowing through them, I will be life of plowing rocks, until decrease your depth of tillage. I firmly believe that depth gauge wheels are one of the best things for an implement, and that most implements are not complete, without them. I don't have any that way, but sure wish I did. I just 3pt and keep the arms raised. Just ain't the same though.

whitetail fanatic
08-20-2010, 06:28 PM
So what does everyone think, if we rotate between rye, clover for 2-3 years, corn for 2-3 years, then back to radishes/rape and rye/clover for 2-3 years, will we gain much by using a chisel plow, or will the crop rotations leave the soil good enough even if we just use a 3 bottom moldboard plow instead of a chisel plow? I know the chisel is generally better for the soil, but I'm not sure if it's that important for our situation or not? What do you all think?

Thanks for all the great replies everyone. If anyone else has any experience with chisel plows I would greatly appreciate if you could share your opinions, advice, and experiences on here and how they compare to using a moldboard plow.

thanks again!

OHBuck
08-20-2010, 09:54 PM
I don't know the answer but I pull 4 14s bottoms with my 4020 uphill or in clay and it can be a handfull. I had to add 400# to the nose or the front wheels rarely touched the ground. And most of the time I have the diff locked.

CaveCreek
08-20-2010, 11:09 PM
I think a good chisel plow (with good depth guage adjustment) would plow be better for the soil and a more effetive tillage operall all in all, get the job done in less time, leave the field smoother, and be a lot more fun to run over with a disk the second pass across. Especially with the use of cover crops.

Might want to scatter more that crop rotation though?

Don't thing you want corn for 2-3 yrs in a row if that's what you meant?

whitetail fanatic
08-21-2010, 09:14 AM
quote""I think a good chisel plow (with good depth guage adjustment) would plow be better for the soil and a more effetive tillage operall all in all, get the job done in less time, leave the field smoother, and be a lot more fun to run over with a disk the second pass across. Especially with the use of cover crops."

That's sort of what I was thinking too. No "dead furrow", smoother, easier to plow the areas you want to (esp. at the edges of the plots), and faster as compared to a moldboard.

quote:"Might want to scatter more that crop rotation though?

Don't thing you want corn for 2-3 yrs in a row if that's what you meant?"

Yes, we have been doing corn in the same areas for 2-3 years before changing to something else. Not good right? I've noticed by the 3rd year, those fields have some pretty compacted soils. After a field is in clover or alfalfa for 3 years the soil is beautiful! I don't know what else to do because if I get a nice clover field established, I hate to plow it under after only 1 year or so and we like to have around 5 acres of standing corn each year. Maybe I should alternate between corn/GH radishes and/or rye instead of 3 straight years of having corn in the same plots each year?

bhanks55
08-21-2010, 09:39 AM
I think in the long run you are really hurting yourself having corn 3 years in a row. If were "ok" farmers wouldbe doing it when corn prices are high and none of the "good" farmers I know do it. Corn is a heck of a drain on soil and can only imagine if planted in the same place multiple years in a row without rotation.

I just acquired a 6 shank chisel plow yesterday. Hopefully I will get it ready to roll soon and will post the results. I think I may even be able to control the depth like Cave Creek suggested. I dont have rocks but I dont like to till too deep too often because it disrupts my organic matter too much.

biglakeba$$
08-21-2010, 10:25 AM
Is there a difference between a chisel plow and a cultivator??

We have always used the term "digger" as a general statement.

whitetail fanatic
08-21-2010, 11:43 AM
We have a cultivator because we don't spray our food plots, we use a rotary hoe on our corn 7 days after planting (which gets the majority of the weeds) just when the corn is poking to the surface, then the 2 row cultivator when the corn is about 4-5" tall, and a 2nd time when it's about knee high. This leaves the corn pretty weed free. The 2 row cultivator would never work as a plow though, it only loosens to top 2 to 3 inches or so and that is only after planting corn in a plowed and disked/rototilled seedbed. If I would try to "plow" with our cultivator, it would not even sink into the ground. They might look somewhat similar to a chisel plow, but I think the chisel plows are much heavier and have much stiffer and thicker steel on the shanks so they can dig in deeper and withstand all the more pressure on them.

This is a bit off topic (but since a cultivator was mentioned) below is a picture of our corn food plot looking at the outside edge while standing on the grassy field road. This was just as the ears were starting to form this summer. Now the ears are big and full, but I don't have any pictures of it recently. We do about 5 acres like this each year, rotary hoe and cultivating to control weeds. I know most (or all) of you will disagree with me, but I don't believe in using genetically modified seed (like roundup ready seeds) nor with spraying herbicides on food plots. So I get organic seed corn and do it this way without spraying. The rotary hoeing and cultivating leads to more compaction too, so I think I need to rotate crops better/more often and I think a chisel plow would also be better because the moldboard causes more compaction/plowpan than a chisel.

http://i738.photobucket.com/albums/xx22/whitetailfanatic79/SDC18552.jpg

bhanks55
08-21-2010, 04:32 PM
Absolutely nothing wrong with that approach WF. It has been done that way pretty much forever (manual labor way back of course). I think in some farms in the near future it may go back due to resistance in certain weeds. Nature is always adjusting/adapting. Hard to adapt to a plow.;)

CaveCreek
08-22-2010, 12:57 PM
No promlem that method at all. We can understand the reason not to use GMO seed. Particularly chem resistance. Most people use it cause its easy and fast. And sometomes, maybe the only way they can or might be successful.

Not "organic seed" I'm not so sure about, unless its the same price as conventional seed, as if you look into the true facets of what is allowed to be labeled as "organic" whether it be produce, fertilizer, or seed, you might be real suprised or dissappointed. Avoiding chemicals is a reasonable method. Just don't get caught up in the "Organic Beast". I believe in the general concept, But how it really happens, and its benefits are often way overexploited. Because the people that most often market the practices and the products, are so VERY often, uninformed, or quite as honest as they could be. Organic in general is a marketing scheme. Ol time farmers followed organic methods for lord knows how long, but they had no need to coin their methods organic. Those who do are often trying to sell something for a price advantage, and seldome anything more.

There are resonable studies showing no health advantage to organics persay. All I know is that my Grandparents lived into their 90's and were always happy and Healthy. And they ate LOTS of CHEMICALS. For each of us, it will be about our own Genetics more than anything.

bhanks55
09-12-2010, 10:36 PM
Just tried out my newly acquired chisel plow. My 45 hp 4x4 did just fine with 2 plows removed (down to 4 plows) even very heavy wet clay soil (lots of rain 2 days ago).
It did NOT like it when I set the shanks completely down but chugged on even up an incline. I think it could handle all 6 IF I had it set about 6 inches deep or in lighter soil, but I think the old rule of 10hp per plow is definitely right.

tractorg25
09-13-2010, 12:21 PM
yeah I got it backwards.