1988 - Volume #12, Issue #4, Page #35[ Sample Stories From This Issue | List of All Stories In This Issue | Print this story | Read this issue]
Chisel Conversion Kit For Moldboard Plows"It's been a lifesaver in heavy, compacted soils," says Ken Sire, Billings, Mont., about the "Chisel Board" conversion kit he in-stalled on his moldboard plow two years ago. "This converted plow busts up soil hardpan much better than a subsoiler or conventional chisel plow."
The 4-in. wide , bolt-on chisel boards, made by Star Mfg., Freeport, Ill., were introduced several years. ago as a low-cost alternative to chisel plowing. They extend 4 in. deeper than moldboards, allowing you to dig as deep as 15 in.
Sire installed the conversion kit on his 6-bottom Morris plow. He"plows"every four years in the fall, on summer fallow ground which he plants to barley the following spring. "I open the ground in the fall to catch snow. Because subsoilers and sweep plows can't penetrate the heaviest soils, a hardpan develops, blocking mots and water. I can break the hardpan with a moldboard plow, but it leaves the soil surface exposed. This modified plow does a gorgeous job of busting ground, yet leaves lots of residue on top to soak up snow melt. In the spring, the ground is mellow and easy to work."
Sire says he's seen proof that "chisel boards" hold soil moisture. A hard 3-in. rain last August left water standing in low spots in all his neighbors' fields. But Sire's ground held the water where it fell. And despite the hot, dry weather this summer, his barley crop held up well. "I attribute that strictly to subsoil moisture," says Sire.
Sire sets "chisel board" depth at 9 to 10 in. "That's the depth of the topsoil. I don't want to bring up infertile subsoil. Thanks to the moldboard plow settings, I can control depth to the inch."
Sire bought the entire 6-bottom kit for $600. He goes through one to two "chisel board" sets each year due to wear caused by his abrasive soils. Sire says that by reversing and hard facing the points, he covers about 180 acres per set.
The benefits witnessed by Sire are nothing new to Star Mfg. "We introduced Chisel Boards as a low-cost alternative to a chisel plow," says Skip Lehnhard, sales/marketing manager. "However, most farmers have used them to deep rip, especially in mini-mum and no-till ground. A chisel plow often bounces right off the hardpan, but a moldboard plow's strong/rame lets you rip down into it 15 in. deep or more, depending on the make and model of plow. Another benefit is that they leave about as much residue as a `Glencoe' Soil Saver. Chisel Boards aren't a cure-all for all farmers, but they are an economical way to use one piece of equipment in several different ways."
Contact: FARM SHOW Followup, Star Mfg. Co., Freeport, Ill. 61032 (ph 815 235-7750).
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