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50+ Years of Working on Cornstalks
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Robert W Greif
Posted 10/19/2012 20:37 (#2650189)
Subject: 50+ Years of Working on Cornstalks

Dallas Center IA 515-720-2463
The tread below - Driving on worked Ground - got me thinking about all the different ways that cornstalks have been handled in my farming career.
Sixty years ago we did no fall plowing of corn stalks, turned hogs or cattle into them. Also by the time we were done picking corn it was generally too late to plow.
Any fall plowing done was hay ground, or soybean stubble. Soybean stubble was fall plowed up to about 1975. If not in the fall, it was plowed the next spring.

With the combine picking the corn instead of the corn picker, fall plowing of cornstalks started to happen about 1965.
I remember the 2 row Stan-Hoist rotary cutter. That thing did two things, ate shear bolts and sure got me dirty.
But then dad got a 4 row Stan-Hoist rotary and I got a cab on the D-19. Much better!
But still seemed like we plowed a lot in the spring. And always after a couple diskings.

In the early to mid 70s two things happened.
First dad got the Oliver 2255 and a White model 588, six bottom 20" plow.
That darn thing would just plow them undisked stalks under!
But dad just didn't think that was right.

He also got a pretty good size White disk. A disk that had the un-heard of weight 120 pounds per blade.
Most disks of those days were about 60# - 75# per blade.
Even with a plow that would roll the stalks under without chopping or disking, dad felt that the stalks had to be worked first. So dad and his V-8 tractor disked those stalks and then again, and I think a third time, but I wasn't counting.

About 1982 I got the White disk chisel. Told dad 'It will go thru stalks without disking'.
But he still had to disk them.

By about the early 90s dad had retired, but he still would go out and first chop, then disk corn stalks. Often only on the farmed where he lived.

But he was real happy when I purchased a good used Brady 20' stalk chopper about 1995.

By then the White disk chisel had become a disk ripper with the chisel point turned up and five DMI Ripper Shanks doing the work.

Most of the time with the stalk chopper doing it's thing first.
However in real dry hard pulling falls, I would pass on the chopper. First rip with three shanks down, the stalks went right thru then.
Then rip it again with all five shanks down. When real dry five shanks pulled darn hard, but much easier if it was half ripped before.

The plow: Pretty much parked it by the mid-80s.
However about 2000 I just had to do something.

A couple companies had moldboards that were pretty short. I always called them 'Backwards P Moldboards'.
And I felt that was just the thing!
But being cheap, I did not buy them. Just took the gas axe to the moldboards on the 588.
No really. I took the moldboards off and cut up six old rusty bottoms I had. Still got those good moldboards.

It was getting late fall doing that plow. And I only got about half of an 80 plowed with it before freeze up.
The next spring I just disked the rest. And the next fall I could not tell any difference on my combine yield monitor.
Those gas axed bottoms are still on that plow.

Another idea:
#1 - If a plow or disk or field cultivator or chisel plow leaves a 'Plow Pan' just below where they work.

#2 - You get a ripper or disk ripper to cut thru that plow pan, and everything is great!

#3 - But after a few years would there not be a plow pan or Ripper Pan down there about 15"-16" deep???

So I purchased the Allis-Chalmers disk chisel. Model 1500 Min Til, eleven shanks, 13'-9"

That way just ripping ever four years instead of two, it would talk twice as long for the ripper pan to show up.
Maybe I just wanted to buy a chisel plow.

Another idea: That White disk harrow. It has 66 blades, 9" apart. Weight per blade of 120 pounds.

But if you pretty much remove every other blade, you double the weigh per blade! Not really since you lose the 20 pounds or so that each blade weighs.
But I think 200 pounds per blade is about what the finished machine weighs.

So brand new notched blades on ever other location. A 'washer' cut out of an old blade on the other ones.
Plus new bearings.
I had a Stalk Cutting Machine! Dad would be proud!!
THe No-Tillers would shake there heads.

It does do a pretty darn good job of tearing up stalks, but I have blade breaking problems.

And I did No Till soybeans into corn stalks once, in 2009. Probably should do more, but I like to plow.

Picture #1 is the White disk chisel with just three ripper shanks down.

Pic #2 is the 18" spacing disk, really to show what the ground looks like with a ripper shank about 60" apart.

Pic #3 A closeup of the 18" spacing disk.

I looked for a pic ot the plow with backward P moldboards, No luck.



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Attachments 80-5.jpg (85KB - 466 downloads)
Attachments 80-5.1.jpg (66KB - 454 downloads)
Attachments 80-7.1 (Small).jpg (108KB - 493 downloads)
Attachments DSC01090.jpg (89KB - 461 downloads)
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