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Ken Kimes  |  Greensward / New Natives LLC  |  Aptos, CA

Subject: Tiller / bed shaper

Good Morning

We are looking at using a tiller/ bed shaper as a one unit combination. Anyone out there using that combo now? What's your set up, manufacturer, horse power, bed height? And most important what are the draw backs, or pit falls to trying to use these two as one unit?

Thanks Ken

In Topics Equipment

In General FarmsReach community

Comments 14
08/18/15
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  |  Yanmar America  |  Adairsville, GA commented

Ken Krimes, You might be interested to learn about this product recently introduced by Yanmar America. A 4-in-1 rotary tiller / bed shaper. In one pass, you can till, shape a bed, install one or more irrigation tubes, and install your choice of plastic or paper mulch. Video here: https://youtu.be/5yRsJ54TriA

Yanmar Tractor dealer locator: https://www.yanmartractor.com/dealer-locator

07/09/18 5:55 AM, updated
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  |  Birdsong Orchards  |  Watsonville, CA commented

It occurs to me that small acreage secondary tillage and bed shaping video demonstrations could be really helpful for newbie farmers, and possibly for experienced farmers as well.

08/23/15 9:05 AM
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  |  Paul's Produce  |  Sonoma, CA commented

I also use a power harrow, for final bed prep. I have it set up with a bed shaper to maintain or mark existing beds because the power harrow tends to refill the furrows that I want to maintain for future cultivating. The problem is that this set up carries even more soil than the bed shaper by itself would carry because of the slower speed. I then go back over the field with a toolbar mounted shaper moving the end piles back into the field.

When you are using the power harrow with a roller how do you maintain the bed shape? Do you have a coned roller?

I also have a tiller mounted shaper but don't use it much because it seems much harder to maintain consistently true beds unless I pre-mark with listers or shovels. It also carries a lot of soil to the ends so releveling is an added step with that as well. Would love to hear how others deal with the end of field accumulations.

Paul

08/22/15 8:48 PM
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  |  Terra Firma Farm  |  Winters, CA commented

Ken, click on the link in my original reply. It has a picture of the power harrow and roller.

08/21/15 6:55 PM
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  |  Greensward / New Natives LLC  |  Aptos, CA commented

Paul

Where do I look for the picture?

Thanks Ken

08/21/15 8:04 AM
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  |  Terra Firma Farm  |  Winters, CA commented

Jason, that tiller in the picture I posted has the same type of roller that I use.

I would consider ripping and discing to be primary tillage. Secondary tillage would be making beds and preparing the seedbed. Tillers are one way to prepare a seedbed; you can also use a Lilliston cultivator for 30 or 40 inch beds -- this is how many farms on the coast do it.

There are other reasons than drainage to use beds. For tractor cultivation, for example. And if you want to replant certain beds but not others, you need to be able to till just those beds.

Finding the right farm equipment is not easy, especially if you are on a budget. Your best bet is almost always to go with a standard bed spacing (40, 60 or 80 inches) so you can find and buy used equipment. If you have an unusual bed spacing, like some of the ones mentioned here, you are likely going to have to special order stuff and/or build it yourself

08/21/15 6:00 AM
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  |  Birdsong Orchards  |  Watsonville, CA commented

Paul, can you post a photo or link about the bed roller? I'm intrigued. Thanks for the tip about the power harrow too, looks interesting.

It brings up a newbie question I've had: can someone please explain to me the difference between primary and secondary tillage? I've been doing primary tillage (with offset discs), but no secondary, and the benefits of secondary tillage have thus far eluded me for the most part. There also seem to be so many different ways to do secondary tillage that the choices can be a bit overwhelming. I've also been frustrated by the common answer to "where do I find that implement in a size appropriate to a small farm?" being "have it made by a local welder". A task that requires a person to have a pretty precise definition of what they're looking for (a challenge for a newbie like myself).

I haven't really done any bed shaping yet either because our sloped fields seem to have

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08/20/15 6:32 PM
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  |  Terra Firma Farm  |  Winters, CA commented

Hi Ken,

Just my two cents here... have you considered a bed roller instead of a shaper? Bed shapers are problematic for me because they move lots of soil around. You end up with a concave field, which is not good for drainage among other things.

I use a roller made of round bars that packs the soil down and fills the beds behind my tiller. That makes a fine bed top for transplanting. I run a flat roller on my seeders that pulverizes the soil a bit more.

While we're on the subject...Kuhn Manufacturing makes a vertical tine tiller called a power harrow that has several advantages over the standard horizontal tine tiller but is about the same price. It doesn't bring up new weed seeds and it doesn't create a plow plan. I bought one 5 years ago and have had to do zero maintenance so far. Not even any greasing. They made a 40 inch version with the roller included. http://www.kuhnnorthamerica.com/us/range/tillage-tools/secondary-tillage/hrb-122.html

08/20/15 11:00 AM, updated
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  |  Fells Farming  |  Forestville, CA commented

I have an exceptional BCS tiller/ bed maker. The shaper is connected to the back of the tiller. Remember to till quite a few times to get the ground workable, then attach the shaper. The only thing is you have to come through with a hoe at the end to make the bed consistent. Keep the PTO on high but the the gear no more then 2nd.---Phil---
08/19/15 9:05 PM
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  |  Page's Organics  |  Ramona, CA commented

We built an attachment for our 50" Falc. We shaped a steel plate to fit where the gate hangs and cut out a 30"X4" Bed shape. It works great....if the soil is just right for shaping.

08/19/15 7:47 PM
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  |  Classic Organic Farm  |  Gaviota, CA commented

10 to 15 horsepower per foot of rototiller. I also suggest a tractor with a creeper gear.

I would throw-up my beds first with listers and then shape them. I set would only rototill the top two inches of my beds. Rototilling destroys the tilth of the soil but I need an inch or two of rototilled soil to direct seed my seed into.

08/19/15 6:47 PM
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  |  Classic Organic Farm  |  Gaviota, CA commented

http://Marketfarm.com sells small bed shapers. After you look at their website, give them a phone call. They are always very helpful with ideas.

Bob at Cal Coast Machinery in Santa Maria is also very helpful. Last year he came by to take photos of my equipment for a one-bed system so that he could help small growers get started farming.

Sorry, I do not have photos of my equipment. I sold all my equipment when I retired to Hawaii. If you visit the Santa Barbara area, I am sure you can see my old equipment.

Helmut

08/19/15 6:29 PM
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  |  Greensward / New Natives LLC  |  Aptos, CA commented

Helmut

Thanks. We only want to do one bed also. 36" would bed perfect. We only need a 4" bed height. So how does that combination work for you? Would you have a photo?

Thanks Ken

08/19/15 12:51 PM
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  |  Classic Organic Farm  |  Gaviota, CA commented

There are a few tiller/bed shapers made commercially but they are for two or more beds. I needed a one bed (42" center to center) shaper for my 28hp tractor. So I purchase a 36" pto rototiller and had a friend build a shaper that attached to the rear.

Your local tractor dealer should be able to help you find two bed tiller/shaper. If I can be of more help, let me know. Helmut

08/19/15 10:43 AM

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