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Father-Son Duo Build Unique Tillage Implement
Seven years ago, inventive farmer Gerald Milo and his son looked at expensive and heavy vertical tillage (VT) implements and decided they couldn’t justify buying one for their 500-acre farm in Northern Ohio. Instead of pulling into the field with the same old tillage tools, they decided to build a new implement themselves.
  “We call our machine the Mix and Till, and it does an excellent job of fall and spring tillage, for way less money than buying specialized VT equipment,” Milo says. “We spent 3 years developing and testing this concept on our farm, and by all accounts it’s been very successful. We built it by reconfiguring an existing tandem disk. We replaced the arbor and the concave disk blades with a heavy duty 1 1/4 in. shaft and wavy or vortex coulters. We did that because concave disk blades squeeze the soil together as they go in the ground, creating compaction. The wavy coulter we used cuts and mixes residue with light to moderate soil disturbance. The vortex coulter has a more aggressive cutting and soil mixing action. We run the machine at a depth of 1 to 2 in. and travel 6 to 7 mph.”
  Milo says some VT equipment on the market seems to be made just so farmers can get in the field a few days earlier in the spring or work a week longer in the fall. “Some of those frames are so darn heavy, 15,000 to 18,000 lbs., that they need a 100 hp tractor just to pull it around a farm yard,” Milo says facetiously. “Putting that heavy machine in the field compacts the ground, especially in the spring.” Milo’s Mix and Till machine is about 20-30 percent lighter than big VT machines, but he says that’s not a problem. “We’re using extra sharp wavy or vortex blades, so we don’t need a massive heavy frame.”
  The Milo’s have built and sold several Mix and Till machines in the past 4 years. All of them were originally conventional disks ranging from 12 to 30 ft. wide. Better yet, the cost of his machines is considerably less than other VT equipment, so smaller farmers can afford them. Says Milo, “If we supply the disk frame on a 21 ft. unit, we put on all the blades along with a Remlinger single rolling basket and price it at $26,500.” He says they’ve had good interest in their machine in Ohio, but haven’t really spread the word in other areas. “I don’t think there’s any reason why this machine won’t work on any smaller farm that has smaller tractors and whose operators can’t justify spending a boatload of money on other VT machines,” Milo says.
  Contact: FARM SHOW Followup, S and M Farms, 160 South Newton Falls Rd., North Jackson, Ohio 44451 (ph 330 719-6106; www.sandmfarms.com; Miloghomes@cs.com).

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2015 - Volume #39, Issue #3