[Market-farming] cultivating tractors

Paul Bucciaglia pbucciaglia at yahoo.com
Tue Nov 29 13:00:38 EST 2005

My favorite topic!!!
  Whats best?  Its a trade off.  My suggestion is to get lots of them :-)
  In general, buy good condition machines complete with hydraulics and cultivators--no matter what weeder you mount you will at least need the linkages.  Cultivators run around $300 these days plus the hassle and $ to get them.  Personally I won't even look at a cultivating tractor without hydrualics, although if you are handy (I'm not)you can retrofit some of them.  I quote prices for complete machine with hydraulics and cultivator brackets in good mechanical condition and fair appearance, from what I have seen in the Northeast, your mileage may vary.  Ones in bad shape or with mechanical lifts are typically cheaper.
  Allis Chalmers G: 
  -best visibility--especially for seeding
  -best 'touch' --great for basket weeding of small crops like carrots
  -can be underpowered for jobs like hilling
  -sidedressors not common 
  -engines can be touchy if not tuned up each year and maintained with great care
  -get one with the creeper! 
  IH Cub:
  -slightly more power than G
  -slighly less visiblibility--better used for one row cultivating, or stale bedding w/basket weeder, or with finger weeder
  -easy to mount fert sidedressor
  -hydraulics work off one lever--you can't independantly move them
  IH 140, Super A
  -lots of power
  -harder to turn and steer than cub
  -slighly less visiblibility--better used for one row cultivating, or stale bedding w/basket weeder, or with finger weeder
  -easy to mount fert sidedressor
  -split hydraulics, you can operate front and rear independantly
  -geared too high--they go fast!!
  -gas engine, but not too bad a guzzler
  JD 900HC, Kubota 245HC, IH 240
  -modern, diesel tractors
  -otherwise similar to IH 140 with better gearing and easier steering
  -$6,000 to $12,000
  The thing about cultivating tractors is its hard to have just one.  Some are better suited to a job than others.  Also, at peak times of the year (May-July) when you have narrow windows to cultivate, its often better to have 3 old tractors tuned up and  with cultivators mounted and adjusted than one newer one--sometimes you only have a small window when the weeds are at a good place to kill and the weather is cooperating, and you may have lots of ground to cover.
  I have 2 AC G's, and an IH 140. On my farm the job list looks like this:
  -Allis Chalmers G #1: seeding, fingerweeder, mini-hillers, potato hillers
  -Allis Chalmers G #2:  3 row basket weeder 
  -IH 140:   stale bed basket weeder (easily converted to 2 row weeder), with side dressor
  I also have a 40 horse Case 1194 diesel that I use for lely weeder and water wheel transplanter, and a 50 horse gas guzzler IH 574 for tillage and loader (when I get enhough $ together I'll upgrade that to diesel.)   While all my tractors are old and do occasionally break down, I was able to get them all here for around 20 grand over the past 3 years since I started this farm.
  Fort Hill Farm, New Milford, CT

Message: 2
Date: Mon, 28 Nov 2005 16:42:11 -0900
From: "Mike Emers" 
Subject: [Market-farming] What's the best cultivating tractor?
To: "'Market Farming'" 
Message-ID: <000001c5f486$24a70dd0$de7ee642 at SYSTEM6JJ>
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Now that we've moved from 3 to 8 acres of row crops we're realizing that
we need to be a little more efficient in our weed management. Also,
we're tired of bending over and paying our crew to weed ineffectively
when there's much more efficient things to do. We are going to buy a
cultivating tractor this winter and we're wondering about the collective
wisdom/opinions out there. We like the looks of the Kubota L245HC (we
already farm with a L2850) but are there any other suggestions?


Mike Emers
Rosie Creek Farm

Paul Bucciaglia
Fort Hill Farm
Organic Vegetables, Herbs, and Flowers
18 Fort Hill Rd.
New Milford CT 06776
(860) 350-3158

"But your flag decal won't get you
Into Heaven any more.
They're already overcrowded
>From your dirty little war.
Now Jesus don't like killin'
No matter what the reason's for,
And your flag decal won't get you
Into Heaven any more."

John Prine, 1971
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