[Market-farming] small scale chisel questions

David Inglis mhcsa at verizon.net
Fri Feb 20 21:00:39 EST 2009

Hey Jason,

I have a Yeoman Plow that I have been using for 20 years. On the ground I
have now [ Copake Gravel Loam] it works great in combo with a light top pass
with a tiller to get smooth even beds for small seeded crops and on its own
for many other crops.

The Yeoman is not the same as a chisel; the action is different, so is the
result. A yeoman is more expensive but for my system does a much better job
of several different tasks with the exception of trash incorporation.

If you fabricate your own tool bar use 3/8th " box steel not 1/4'". Because
the shanks are not sprung there is more torque on the frame. It'll be a heap
of welding.  Also, get the depth wheels and set them up to run in the tire

I can pull my three shanks set 15" apart on the frame and at full depth ie
15-18" with a 4 WD 25 HP Ford but rarely do. I have about 7 A under tillage
set up in permanent beds on 5' centers, the 3 shanks run in the beds only.
Put the tool to work where the growing gets done, I say. If you are not
working in permanent beds get a plow that covers the area from outside to
outside tire width and drop the outside shanks for the initial tillage.

I use it a lot with a set of heel knives on each shank for rough stale

I use it in green manures which is the best way to build your soil in the
long run. The shank will slip through the GM but if you have a lot of
vineing top growth, like Vetch a coulter might be needed. The green manure
will explode after this treatment especially if done prior to an irrigation
or rain. This will amplify any subsoiling you do as the GM roots are right
there to colonize the newly opened up ground. 

It is a great tool for the redistribution of surface water as it was
originally designed for this ie the Keyline soil development plan. That's a
big subject though.

A Yeoman has low HP requirements although with 80 Horses that's not an issue
for you. Figure 12 hp for the first shank and 8/shank after that; so that's
60 HP for the 7 shank model.

When you start out you will use fewer shanks but as the soil develops at
depth you will be able to pull more.

I attempt to use the Yeoman plow as a tool to create conditions that are
optimal for soil life and have the soil life produce the tilth rather than
prepare the tilth mechanically.

I am happy to answer questions.


Ps I have two questions for you.

1.	how many shares do you do on that acreage? and
2.	how on earth do you mulch six acres?



Dave Inglis

Mahaiwe Harvest C.S.A.

Berkshire County



-----Original Message-----
From: market-farming-bounces at lists.ibiblio.org
[mailto:market-farming-bounces at lists.ibiblio.org] On Behalf Of Jason Jones
Sent: Friday, February 20, 2009 1:05 PM
To: Market Farming
Subject: [Market-farming] small scale chisel questions


Here is my dilemma.  I am looking to replace a 2-bottom moldboard plow for
use on a 6 acre mixed vegetable CSA farm.  I am looking to replace the
moldboard with a chisel plow, but am not familiar with these types of plows
and this is making the process harder.  In the past my tillage system
involved either fall or spring plowing with the moldboard followed by a
rototiller to create a better seedbed.  Once the soil is worked over with
the tiller, I then come and hill the soil into beds and cover the beds with
a mulch layer.  


I have been looking at the Yoemans plow, or at least the Yoemans shanks
mounted on a fabricated toolbar, but these types of plows are the more
expensive of this type of equipment.  My tractor is an 80hp 2wd model which
should allow me to pull a 5 shank chisel with no problem.  My questions are


Is it best to purchase a cheaper model of chisel that has 7 shanks and
remove two of the shanks, or does it make more sense to purchase a five
shank model that is set up with just those five shanks?


Would the Yoemans necessarily be better than other types of chisels in small
scale production systems?  


Is there anyone out there who has recently stopped using the moldboard and
switched to chiseling?  


Any advice would be much appreciated.  Thanks,


Jason Jones

Farm Manager

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