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They’re Sold On Field Rolling
“My dad bought a 14-ft. homemade field roller several years ago at an auction, and we’ve used it many times after seeding small grain and alfalfa instead of a drag or a culti-packer,” says Brad Farmer of Osage, Iowa. “It leaves the field very smooth and does an excellent job of pushing small rocks and dirt clumps into the soil. I expanded on that idea and built a 42-ft. roller that we can use on all our row crops.”
Brad and his father Brian are sold on the benefits of rolling because “we’ve learned, witnessed and experienced tremendous soil conservation and yield improvement on our own fields,” Brad says. “Rolling dramatically reduces soil erosion. Rolled fields don’t wash gullies nearly as much as those that haven’t been rolled.”
During the past two growing seasons, the Farmers have rolled almost all of their corn and soybean ground. “We roll all of the corn ground after the field cultivators and before the planter,” Farmer says. “The biggest improvements we’ve seen are absolute depth control and no seed bounce because the planter row units are running on smooth ground. There’s almost 100 percent uniform seedling emergence because every seed is planted at the same depth.”
Farmer adds, “In the past two years, every field we’ve rolled has produced higher yields than those we haven’t rolled ahead of planting. We plant at 35,000 seeds per acre and have almost 100 percent perfect emergence. Every seedling gets an even chance to come out of the ground.”
Farmer states the obvious when he says, “Bean fields that are rolled after planting are easier to harvest because they’re smooth and the header can get right to the ground without picking up small rocks or chunky soil. The cutter bar runs cleaner, and there’s less dirt going into the combine.”
The Farmers hired their rolling until 2023 when Brad and his father built a roller using an old Deere planter toolbar and three anhydrous tanks for the drums. They pull the rig with a 49-year-old Deere 7520 tractor that Brad equipped with a customized auto steer system to ensure precision passes without overlap.
“This setup works really well, leaving fields very smooth by crumbling and breaking dirt clods and pushing small rocks flush to the surface. Our experience with custom rolling in the past is that this type of field preparation in the spring means much less wear and tear on the header during harvest,” Farmer adds.
Contact: FARM SHOW Followup, Brad Farmer, 3596 Trophy Ave., Osage, Iowa 50461 (farmer3596@gmail.com).

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2023 - Volume #47, Issue #3