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Combination Grain Cart-Chisel Plow

By Paula Barbour

Knowing going in there is downtime during harvest (maintenance, repairs, landlord visits, bin checks, grain truck delays), the Standleys were still surprised how much it all added up the first year they took out their tillage cart. Surprised, and yet glad of it! When harvest was done that year on their farm near Malden, Illinois, so was all of their chisel plowing. 

“My wife, Beth, operates the tractor pulling the tillage cart. When I’m out of the combine, she keeps going. Also, she’ll get the end rows done while we’re moving to the next farm, and then she’s right with us when we’re ready to start again. It’s a nice feeling starting the next field knowing the last one is done, and I don’t have to worry about it again until spring,” says Calvin Standley.

To create the one-and-done tillage cart, Standley split a five-row chisel plow with 30-inch spaces, putting the disks at the front and the chisel at the rear of a 750 J&M grain cart. 

“My son and I made a lot of trips in the planning stages, finding the right equipment to make it work,” he recalls. “We made the first field test before we hooked the chisel plow on the back. That told us our range of motion for the disks in the front, where to break the mainframe, and where exactly to align everything. After that, we only made just one or two adjustments on the depth control.”

It was professionally welded by the McHenry Machine Shop in Princeton, Illinois, owned by John Williams. 

They pull the unit with a 275-hp. tractor. “The minimum I’d recommend is 275,” he says. “It was an unexpected surprise that it pulls as easily as it does.”

He says they’ve also virtually eliminated rocking in the chisel plow. “The chisel plow works better independently when split from the disks than when those sections were together,” he says. “Since the shanks are directly behind the large cart tires, they rip all the compaction the full length of the field.”

The tillage cart will perform its three functions at once, or just one at a time. “We have some soil that is highly erodible, so we don’t drop the chisel plow there,” he says.

A $2,500 winner
Standley is the next recipient of a $2,500 Firestone in-store credit offer for having his idea chosen as the Idea of the Month. 

Learn more: Calvin Standley
Homeplace: Living on the central Illinois farm purchased by his grandfather, Calvin Standley grows corn and soybeans.
Family: Wife Beth, son John, 26, and daughter Hannah, 21, all help with crop production.
Volunteer: Standley is a 32-year veteran of the Malden volunter fire department.
In the market: Lately, Standley is looking at new field cultivators. 
High miles: The Standleys have to keep their 1997 Chevy pickup with 410,000 miles running because it’s the only vehicle that family dog Daisy will ride in.

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