Old topic but worth resurrection. Why plow and plow deep? A lot of posts and replies here are mentioning no till, plowing being antiquated and old fashioned, plowing no more than 8" deep. Hopefully this explains more about the reasons and logic as well as different requirements for different areas and crop types. massey 57 or 570 or 55 plows or a jd 4200 or a jd 8350 or a jd 4600 will go deep, Call for locates on buried utilities if the guage wheel breaks. I run massey 57 and bolt an old plow share on the tipoff the mold boards to keep the soil rolled or roll it all the way, and with the right trash boards, a massey 57 4x16 3 point mount will plow nicely at 12". JD will go deeper. IH deeper yet I believe. I used to go 9-11 in our clay. After multiple years deeper could be attained, but when I tried to plow 12" and up, there was this strange lighter colored soil that came up, and it was a bear to work down, but crops did well. The dairy spreads manure, discs it in then mold board plows, and goes deeper every year, with a JD 4840 and 5 bottom in furrow, depths of 15" were seen, but those old girls sure smoked when pulling that deep. When v ripper is used, I go for 18+ inches, break up that hard pan. Over in the sandier areas of my region, guys seem to be plowing consistently at 14-16 inches deep. Get that corn to grow. Now, another consideration is when we knife in 280 units/acre of nh3 it needs to go deep in order to not flash out. Talk about fun, riding a 125+hp tractor all day knee deep in weights, listening to that engine howl at 2100 rpm and every time at the top and bottom of the field, down shift, throttle back, lift plow, roll plow, turn, brake, correct, figure 8 if another tractor, line her up, drop, throttle up, shift, and get ready for it again. Then hit rocks or tree roots and trip shear pins. We have the olathe sweet sweet corn though!!! I plowed a few years back for a lady south of me, so many rocks! I didn't want to reset entire plow for 2 acres, and local said "7 inches for the plow" I was young and said "I can pull at 9 or 10, I opened the pump up just to plow" I headed out there with 30 shear pins. It plowed nice. one gear higher than usual. I got less than half done and ran out of shear pins. 7" was right if you wanted to get anything done. The one thing that always bothered me the most was sitting crooked. A little bit (say 12" worth) doesn't matter, but anything over that and you get out of that tractor and the horizon looks like it is running on a slope, from the tractor driving with one side lowerthan the other for days on end. South, New Mexico, I could believe that. The one thing though, Not sure on HP of a 1206, but seems like it should handle that 3 bottom very well, and ordinarily a 4 bottom.
Now, Reason for plowing is multiple. We have to have smooth, flat even fields for the irrigation, as well as to cultivate and spray, so keeping field smooth and flat is a must. Trash is also aproblem, needs to be clear for water, as well as if you raise beans, and cultivate them, the sweeps will trash up and wreak havoc. as well asif you raise beans, the run a bean blade to lift them, a rod weeder to wrap up the weeds, and a pickup head, if the trash was not buried as well as the soil loosened up, it would be impossible. Next, onions have about the same prolems, so soil needs to be good. Sweet corn seed is the same deal. Deep plowing is always going to be necessary unless we go to all hay. And our climatesucks for raising hay. Next proplem is less mechanical and more chemical. The pre emerge chemical willstay in the soil, and unless plowed, and turn the soil, the pre emerge can kill the crop for the nextyear. Next is our soil is very salty, so the salt falls from the water, and the commercial fertilizers deposit more salt, and the manure and urine from livestock pasture add more salt, so a hay crop manages the salt, by pulling it from the soil as it grows, however a corn or grain or onion crop does not do this. this leaves the soil too salty over time and the result is deteriorated top soil. Next reason is we used to raise sugar beets and onions as a rotation, well before anyone knew any different, the problem was already too far along to correct. There are still fields in the area that after 4-5 years of hay, the hay roots start to rot from the inside out, like a tree, and the hay dies. 40 years after. Experts say keep tilling the soil and eventually the contamination will get better. It is getting better, but it takes time. If the soil was never plowed, the soil disease would never get better, It would take decades. The problem was from multiple things, the chemicals necessary for onions and sugar beets, the raping the ground with commercial fertilizer and leaving nothing, no onion tops, no beet tops, bailing the bean straw, bailing or burning the barley straw. Until next time, Plow deep and look ahead!