2020 - Volume #44, Issue #1, Page #17[ Sample Stories From This Issue | List of All Stories In This Issue | Print this story | Read this issue]
One-Pass Pasture Aeration, Reseeding
“When I started my sheep flock, I knew I needed quality grass for quality animals,” says Brown. “I looked at ways to improve the pastures, but commercial machines were hard to justify or didn’t work the way I wanted.”
Brown custom-builds his BRO system for $2,500. That’s a lot less than some of the alternatives, like a 4-ft. wide, no-till drill for around $14,000, or deep-tillage rigs that require high horsepower tractors.
Before building his system, he read about how one farmer used a box scraper to aerate, so he tried it. “I turned the teeth around and made 2 passes across the pasture,” recalls Brown. “I looked back, and it looked ugly, but it gave me the idea of mounting worn plow coulters to an old cultivator frame. I liked how they sliced through the surface.”
Brown decided to design an aeration/seeder combination from the ground up. With the help of a neighbor, who is a good welder, he used 1 by 3-in. tubular steel for the 2 1/2 by 6-ft. frame. He mounted coulters 16 to 18 in. apart and put a receiver hitch on the back to let him hook on a drag.
“A 4-ft. wide drag covers the disk slots to increase seed-to-soil contact,” says Brown. “I’ll use an 8-footer in the late winter or early spring to spread manure if there is a cluster in one area.”
Without down pressure on the 3-pt. hitch, Brown knew he would need to add weight. He used 3-in. angle iron to make a tray for cinder block weights.
“The coulters stay in the ground, even when I’m turning,” says Brown. “I went with wave coulters because they open up the ground more than straight coulters.”
To scatter seed, Brown avoided motors and went with a vibration driven Yeoman’s Shankpot seeder. The Australian made seed box costs around $600 and is designed for use behind a plow. Dial up seed slots of 5/8-in. to 1 1/16-in. allow about any size seed to vibrate out of the seed box onto an 18-in. disk that scatters it behind the coulters. A patented jigger system prevents seed from clogging up the seed drop.
“I spread about 8 lbs. of seed every 3 acres,” says Brown. “I mostly use pasture mixes, but I will add some larger seed like wheat or rye to visually check that seed is falling.”
For another visual check of seed getting spread, Brown cut a slot in the side of the seed box facing the tractor and covered it in Plexiglas.
“I have 36 acres of pasture split into 10 paddocks, all with water,” says Brown. “I try to use my aerator/seeder 5 times a year, usually when I move my sheep flock out of a paddock. It works especially nice after a rain.”
Contact: FARM SHOW Followup, Don Brown, 31024 Township Rd. 11, Fresno, Ohio 43824 (ph 330 763-0494; firstname.lastname@example.org).
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