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Frequent Contributor

JD 980 Field Cultivator. Harrow not leveling adequate.

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 I bought a John Deere 980 Field Cultivator last fall and have started running it earlier this spring. I am having a really hard time getting the harrow to level the ground really well behind the sweeps. The harrow is a 3 bar or channel with spring tines. New tines have are about 15" long and the current ones on there are 8-12" long. I have set my harrow in the lowest position possible and am running it level. I am running about 1.75 - 2.25" deep in ground that has been disced and NH3 pulled. I am running at an angle so I know it isn't the Nh3 strips. 

Is there a better way to set the harrow or field cultivator to get good level ground to plant into? Should I run the front of or back of the harrow lower? should I run the back or front of the cultivator higher? Does high or low speed work better? Are my current tines just too short? Or is the three bar spring tine harrow just inadequate? 
I need some idea on how to set this cultivatow as it is new to me. 

Thank You .

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Frequent Contributor

Re: JD 980 Field Cultivator. Harrow not leveling adequate.

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We ran 980's years ago and they were a great machine. The tines if they are in the lowest position, how deep and how much pressure is on them in the ground? Sounds like the rear harrow teeth need to be replaced. They usually have quite the angle and pressure on them in the ground. U could replace one section and try that to see how the new section works. Another option is to unfold it on concrete and let the machine down then measure the tip of the rear tine in the rearword position and see what the difference is between sweep working depth and tine distance to the concrete.We always ran 980's about 4-5 inches working depth to get the wheel tracks out.The machine should always be level front to back so the front row of sweeps is the same depth as the rear.I really think new tines will solve the problem. Good Luck !

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Frequent Contributor

Re: JD 980 Field Cultivator. Harrow not leveling adequate.

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Ok, thanks. I think I'll start with replacing the tines. I just don't have any experience with field cultivators,( usually used a disc harrow for last pass) so i just wanted to make sure a 3 row tine would work before i put new harrows on it.

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