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Sunday, May 26, 2024

When the only tool you have is a hammer, every problem looks like a nail- Planting Timothy with Great Plains 1500 no-till drill

I planted Timothy yesterday. I had worked the ground a couple weeks ago right before a good rain. The plan was to get a sprout, spray out the weeds, and no-till the Timothy into a stale seedbed. 

I had a choice of three grail drills. 

My favorite is the 1953 MM drill but it is only 9 ft. We also have a mid 1970's John Deere that is 12 foot but I hate it. 

But, I do have a Great Plains 1500 no-till drill and it is hooked to a very comfortable tractor with heat and AC and it is 15foot wide.

The problem with the Great Plains is that is has so much down pressure it is hard to regulate planting small seeds.

The small seeds box has separate tubes which drop behind the v-openers and right in front of the press wheels. There is so much down pressure that in loose soil the v-openers dig a trench regardless that I have the press wheels set as far down as possible.

It did not work.  The field looked like I had disked it.

Outside round is with down pressure. Second round is without. You can also see the difference the harrow makes.

Harrow vs no harrow?

I had removed the harrow on one side for repairs and left it off because I suspected that the harrow was responsible for burying the seed. This was true. Without the harrow the seed was the right depth but it was at the bottom of a two inch deep trench. This is good for a dry summer but not good for a hay field.

The Great Plains 1500 no-till system is two parts. There is a three point style drill with press wheels and heavy down pressure springs. This is then mounted on a cart which has no-till coulters and a hydraulic lift.

To decrease my down pressure I added cylinder stops to the main lift cylinders.

I added cylinder stops until the v-openers quit digging a trench. I also blocked down the drill wheels but the small seeds turn so easy there was no problem with the drive wheel slipping

This worked quite well. I was able to reduce the spring pressure on the drill to the point that I was no longer digging a deep trench. I left one harrow off to see it that would help.

After planting I flat rolled the field to conserve moisture. 

Flat rolling to conserve moisture. I suspect it won't rain again until we put hay down

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