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Machinery Insider Tip: Tillage Depth

Check the actual operating depth of tillage equipment by digging into the field in several locations across the entire width of an implement. Dig down to the bottom of disks and sweeps with the implement at rest but still in the soil to determine operating depth.

“I have often found tillage depth at the wings of implements is not the same depth as at the main frame, which could indicate a leaky hydraulic cylinder or a low tire,” says Kevin Kimberley, a crop consultant and Successful Farming magazine’s tillage doctor. “I also insist that all of my clients use chains that hang off the front corners of their implements so they can check depth on-the-go, as well.” Such leveling chains run 4 inches off the ground to provide you with a quick check of running performance.

Another recommendation he makes is to strap a beam level (used by carpenters) on the top of the implement. Strap on a level to a beam near the center of the implement that is running sideways, which readily indicates if the implement is running level from one wing to the other. The second level is strapped to a beam running fore and aft “to determine if the implement is running nose deep or riding on its tail,” says Kimberley.

Kimberley also prefers to have finish implements set to evenly distribute trash on the surface. “Leave as much trash on the surface where a planter’s trash wheels can sweep it out of the way for the double-disk openers,” he says.

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