Retrofit kit saves a bundle on vertical tillage system
Four years ago, Neil Skiles noticed he had a problem. The Industry farmer was running a ripper in the fall, followed by a field cultivator in the spring.
“That field cultivator would run 2 to 3 inches deep,” Skiles explains. “Those shovels were compacting the soil. That’s when I started looking at vertical tillage as a way to solve my compaction problem.”
When he went to corn on corn for all of his acres, he was even more intrigued by the residue management offered by a VT system. Still, he couldn’t bring himself to shell out $50,000 for a new implement.
• Neil Skiles went to vertical tillage to solve compaction issues.
• He didn’t feel like paying $50,000 to get into the VT game.
• Instead, he retrofitted his field cultivator with straight coulters.
When Yetter came out with a rolling coulter that can be retrofitted on a field cultivator, Skiles felt more comfortable with the reduced price point. He bought the rolling coulters for about $280 a piece and swapped them in for the shovels on his Landoll Tilloll.
“It only cost me about $8,000 to set up the Tilloll as a vertical tillage implement,” Skiles notes. “Plus, it’s only a matter of removing two bolts per shovel to replace it with a rolling coulter.” He estimates it took about an hour to replace 26 shovels on his Tilloll.
Instead of running 3 inches deep, his new setup only cuts 1.5 inches deep. He runs about 8 mph. “It brings up enough dirt to seal your corn in when you come back with the planter,” he says.
Skiles also noticed the stalk chopping action allows him to warm soil a little earlier in the spring.
“It gives you a really even seedbed, and I don’t have compacted soil,” he adds.
This article published in the October, 2010 edition of PRAIRIE FARMER.