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Contributor

Cultipacker options

I am looking to improve the seedbed into which I plant.  I currently use a disc without any mulcher, a FC with a good mulcher, or no till.  I am considering a cultipacker, a large fold up double roller unit to pull in a separate operation.  Other options include a large fold up single roller unit to pull either directly behind the tillage tools, or in a separate operation, or a crumbler pulled behind one of the tools.  Can anyone help me determine what might work best in my situation.  I have heavy soils that are easy to work too wet.  A few light soils, but the ones that cause the most trouble of course are the dark clay loam types.  My FC and disc are the same size, so a pull behind unit should work well behind either one.  Is the double roller unit (with teeth between the rollers) worth the weight and an extra trip?  Will a single roller do as good a job as the double roller? TIA 

11 Replies
Senior Contributor

Re: Cultipacker options

Sold the 24 ft IH 315 which apparently was made by Dunham Lehr/Farmhand this spring.  No crows feet, just had the standard wheels on both front and rear.  No doubt if you made clods by disking or other means when the field was too wet, it would break them down and leave you with a smooth surface.  I just thought it was too smooth and also didn't favor the resulting compaction Therefore only used it a couple of times in ten years and decided the best policy is to stop tilling if you are making clods.   If it is too wet to do acceptable tillage and you need to get something planted, go notill instead.  A crumbler/rolling basket/rolling harrow coupled with Remlinger style spike harrow (3 or 4 rows) looks to be good choice behind a field cultivator.  Many use this combination and I like the results.

Contributor

Re: Cultipacker options

Everyone in our area is running a packer and most have a cultipaker.  We had run a cultipacker over everything we tilled in the past and finally went to a packer with a drag on the cultivator and have had fairly good luck.  Some of the heavier ground will probably require the cultipacker though.

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Contributor

Re: Cultipacker options

By packer do you mean a solid single roller, or a crumbler?  Thanks for the reply and help.

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jaytbmf
Visitor

Re: Cultipacker options

I have found that in heavy land the best is a 2 roller with crows feet in front with spring teeth in middle and a plain roller in the back.  I no-till beans and some small grain.  I use the double roller mainly when planting pasture or hay land with small seeds such as grass or alfalfa and clover that do much better with a smooth firm seed bed and to give my hay equipment a smooth ride.  I often run without the teeth on a second pass after planting to press the seed into the ground since I normally plant the small seed on the surface (this gives me the right depth for the seed).  I do not find the compaction to be great with this approach as the rollers spread the weight and only compact the top 2 or 3 inches.  I find the size of the tractor and the disking compact the land even more.  The key is to minimize the passes over the field 

Senior Contributor

Re: Cultipacker options

Certainly agree a cultimulcher is a good tool when sowing grass seed,  particularly for subsequent hay production.  We used ours after sowing prairie grass on CREP ground and were very satisfied with the results.  But no hay and no plans for any.  Also a good tool to have around if one is do spring plowing rather than fall work because of erosion concerns.   Organic farmers certainly should consider having one for that purpose.  Otherwise my experience it is a tool to only use in an emergency which could have been avoided by remaining on the sidelines and avoiding field work when it was too wet, and we have mostly heavier silty clay loam.

Senior Advisor

Re: Cultipacker options

I agree that a cultipacker is for seeding hay or small seeds where good seed-soil contact with very shallow or surface seeding is the goal.  I can't see any good reason to use it on row crops.

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Veteran Contributor

Re: Cultipacker options

I pull a 24 ft FC with coil tine harrow attached and it leaves to many clods. Am also wondering if I should buy a solid single . winged roller or if a basket type crumbler would break clods when hitched to FC for 1 pass spring tillage following fall chiesling. I have a 15 ft cultimulcher ( 1 solid roller, 2 rows of teeth and 1 more solid roller) which breaks clods well, but plugs easily. Also how hard does a single roller or crumbler basket pull when hooked behind FC. TIA

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Contributor

Re: Cultipacker options

By packer I mean a single roller, a gray iron brillion to be specific.  We have a fair amount on heavy clay and always have to make a pass with a packer or cultipacker.

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Senior Contributor

Re: Cultipacker options

Little experience with coil tine harrows but many have written they were unsatisfied with leveling and clod breakdown.  Several of these individuals certainly have a lot of experience and also parallel my thoughts on other issues so this certainly makes me very skeptical about the overall usefulness of coil tine harrows.  However in certain situations that have a lot of residue they might be the only alternative other than using nothing.  I certainly think a rolling basket arrangement behind the FC would definitely be an improvement and suggest a round bar rather than a blade/scalloped blade arrangement.  I 've been told they pull pretty easy.  Unverferth  suggests 1 to 1 1/2 HP per Ft.  Not certain you will be entirely happy with no harrow and only one rolling basket.  As I indicated earlier a really good setup includes a 3-4 row floating spike tooth for some clod breakdown/leveling and then a rolling basket to finish.  However money is usually always an issue so I would retain the coil tine if it is mounted to the FC, and add the trailing basket.