Understand this - plowing is like masonry work - an art unto itself. IMHO plowing is fast becoming a lost art due to no-till etc. For us little guys we can afford conventional tillage, the big guys can t due to market pressures and operating expenses. My experience is limited but have learned a GREAT deal from the older gents here T-GODs in my local area. I have copied many, many posts and emails and taken notes with the older gents. I compile them for future reference and armed with this, my manuals and other materials I ve gleaned I just go for it. Below is as an abbreviated setup smattered with some personal insights. I offer the mechanics of setting the plow to a tractor. The art of plowing I leave to your
experience and sound judgement. Others more knowledgeable than I will respond and we will both learn more. Give a shout to Canada Grant, Elmer Landwere (sp?) and a host of others - they've forgotten more than I may ever know. THX FELLAS. That's why this site is so FANTASTIC.
As they say, experience is a tough teacher. First you are given the test and then you are given the lesson. By adding this response I hope that I can offer some worth in return for all the wisdom shared here by all.
Let's start with your tire pressure. Check that owners manual for the tires on your rig. I run mine without any sag and some water for weight and ballast. I live in N. FL so no fear of freezing my tires. No idea what my pressure is without measuring they just look FULL.
Now then, wheel spacing. I measure wheel spacing to the inside wall of the rim for most accurate results. For a 3x16 the suggested dimension is 59. In clay or such you can decrease this some, in sandy or such you should increase this some. Set front to the same dimensions. Some guys I know only adjust the right side wheels outward from center line of their tractor.
Make sure all bolts, pins etc. are tight on the tractor and plow. No sense in loosing something in the field as I have stabilizer bars, lights. Check everything every few hours to ensure all is tight. Oh yea, be sure to bring tools to field - don t ask how I know this. I would also make sure you give everything a good greasing on both the plow and the tractor. Dirt is abrasive and causes wear. Remember this, grease is cheaper then any new parts or unnecessary busted knuckles Sounds as if your plow is in mint shape, mine is not as you can see. I still haven't got any good shins. Mine will be getting a work over this winter in prep for spring.
If possible make sure the bottoms are shiny scoured. Rusty bottoms make for some hard pulling and undesirable results. To shine them up drag that plow thru that sandy soil until they begin to shine up. After that, working them in the field should finish the job. I have seen some that you could shave in.
Now then, let's make a list of what needs to be done.
- Tractor drawbar height - Oliver recommends the drawbar height should be 15 and lower. If working hard ground 12.
- Level plow side to side:
- If you have a hyd. lift link for regular plowing depth 6-8 bolt the pivot assy. to the top hole of the hyd. lift link. For deeper plowing use the 2nd hole of the link.
- On the furrow leveling link use the 2 inside holes on the end of the links to initially lay open your field, use the end holes if you plan on doing deep plowing.
- Setting coulters - position your plow on level ground put a 4x4 under the coulters. This gives you 1 2 the penetration of traditional plowing depth. Set them 2 fwd. of the plow points .75 outside the shins. Measure the 2 from plow point to rear of coulter axle assy. like a plus + sign. Adjust rearward for dry hard work, adjust fwd. for moist not muck trash work.
- Side to side drawbar adjustment - To level the plow side to side you need a long tape measure. This can be done by using a tape from the drawbar to the plow's center of pull aka the plow's line of draft. The center of pull on this plow can be measured on any bottom but I suggest the center bottom on a 3 bottom plow. Measure your ctr of pull as 3.5 right of the shin s edge and 1 2 your depth. Adjust your plow's drawbar is directly over your tape. For a 3 btm plow you need to hook the rear end of the drawbar and the drawbar guide to the R or L of the plow's line of draft. The clevis must also be hooked in line with the center of pull.
- Straight opening furrow - Hook up, drive to the field. Find a stationary mark and drive straight forward to it. DRIVE FWD AND DON T LOOK BACK Keep your eyes fixed on your sight a distant tree or fence post, something immobile and DRIVE STRAIGHT to it. Wit h my new rednecked disk plow and previous 2 bottom Dearborn plow I usually plow in 2nd gear on new ground, sometimes first if real rough. On worked ground I could pull in 3rd gear in some areas but have been told to stay in 2nd normal brisk walking pace. This reduces equipment wear, conserves fuel and makes me more conscientious. Tip - You can simulate an in-furrow condition by blocking up the left tires 6-8 while on a level surface then adjust plow.
- Now level the plow fore and aft. To be efficient the plow must be level fore and aft to follow in the line of pull. We've discussed the horizontal piece now this is the vertical piece.
- Vertical on the drawbar - after opening your land rmv enough dirt from the plow's center of pull. Using your tape again stretch it along the draft line from your tractor to the plow. Using the drawbar guide adjuster and the furrow lever raise or lower your drawbar guide as needed so the plow's drawbar follows the same line as the tape. Once level don't mess with it. Use the depth lever rear most big ratchet to set plowing depth.
- Checking front bottom cutting width - If your plow is cutting too wide then move the plow drawbar guide to the left unplowed ground. If to narrow move either the tractor drawbar left or the plow drawbar guide to right plowed ground. Make sure though you should have the tractor drawbar pulling in the line of pull. Since I have yet to plow with my 4340 I put front tire in the furrow I have been told to move the tractor drawbar 1 hole left to improve steering. Make sure the front and rear bottoms are cutting the same width.
- Tail wheel adjustment - this should carry most of the plow's weight. Adjust the bolt below the pivot point so that it does. Make sure the landside heel barely touches bottom of furrow. It should be adjusted to run parallel with the share s point. Adjust the pivot point bolt so the side to side thrust is directed on the rear wheel.
- Establish clean furrow wall with rear coulter then adjust others to same. I have repeatedly been told to keep them sharp and of proper diameter. For mine I plan on installing 16 plain. They can be adjusted vertically plus fore and aft. See dimensions above.
- Trip bottoms - On mine I had to open the cover and clean out yrs. of dust, dirt etc. When lubricating DO NOT use grease or oil as it will accumulate the dirt. Use something like PB Blaster or other liquid lubricant, perhaps Dsl. These were originally set to 4k lbs. of pressure but can be adjusted to your conditions.
- Plowing Straight - On that first furrow just drive straight forward without looking back Fix your sights on a distant tree or fence post, something immobile and drive straight to it. Much easier said than done PRACTICE, PRACTICE, PRACTICE. Contact the Floyd County Museum for a reprinted manual or check ebay.
Problems and Corrective Actions:
POOR PENETRATION 1. Dull shares - replace or try flat shares 2. Hitch too low - raise plow drawbar or lower tractor drawbar 3. Coulters to deep - set to 2-3 deep 4. Coulter to far forward - If possible the coulter hub center should be over the share point. 5. Incorrect heel clearance - the heel should only make a slight impression on the furrow s bottom.
RUNNING CROOKED, not parallel to furrow wall 1. Incorrect wheel spacing - plow tails to furrow wall decrease wheel spacing 2. Plow drawbar not set properly - plow tails away from furrow wall move plow drawbar toward unplowed ground or increase wheel spacing. 3. Tail wheel not set properly - tail wheel should run parallel to or lead slightly away from furrow wall. 4. Disc jointers not adjusted right - the disc jointer arm should be parallel with the beams. Jointer blade should lead into the new ground and NOT toward the plowed ground. 5. Jointers turning coulters - jointers should NOT be set over 2 deep or the leading edge of the coulter blade can be turned toward the plowed ground by the jointer side draft.
UNEVEN FURROWS 1. Plow not level - level plow from side to side 2. Coulters and Jointers not set the same - set rear coulter to leave a clean furrow wall. Then set all others exactly the same. 3. Hitch improperly adjusted - front bottom cuts to wide Move plow drawbar to the LEFT or decrease wheel spacing.