850 plowing
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    850 plowing

    I just bought a John Deere 850 to do some food plot work, it came with a tiller and now, I would like to know what else I need to get started. The ground hasn't been worked before and I don't know if I should start with a bottom plow and how big of one the tractor can pull, or disc, rototill etc. This is all new to me and any suggestions would be greatly appreciated. I don't want to get a plow if it's going to be too hard on the tractor and not pull it. It's 4 wd with a loader and loaded and weighted Ag tires. The soil is a little rocky and has some clay and sand from what I can tell.

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    Food Plot

    First before you do anything use Round up or a similar spray and cover the area well. But this is the wrong time of year to do that. Wait for the fresh growth in the spring. If your tiller is good I would just used that to work the ground. If you have a lot of roots then use a sub soiler and breaking up the roots. Then hand pull them and after the area is clear then use your rotor tiller. Let set a few days in between tilling. Then spread your seed and lightly till to work in the ground and make good contact. Worked for me
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    Food Plot side note

    If your starting fresh once you get to buy your seed make sure you buy clover and alfalfa that is form your local seed store not a hardware/tractor store. The seed stores knows the area and what is the best producing seed Money spend up front is money saved as you will not have to replant. A little 12/12//12 fertilizer will help to get it established. BIg ting is get rid of the roots and existing grasses and weed first before you plant
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    DRobinson's Avatar
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    Welcome from northeastern Pennsylvania.
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    I just went over and got some soil to send in for samples and there's some grass on top about 4 in high and when I put a shovel in a few areas, it went in nice and looked like decent dark colored soil, other areas, I couldn't get a shovel in because of some rock, will that hurt the tiller? They're not huge, probably a couple inches in diameter but a lot of them together. I had to dig in another area. I'm sure it's going to need a lot of lime. Most of the soil in my area is in the 5 range. Does anyone know much about the 850 and what all it can do? I bought the tractor, loader and tiller for 6300.00, it was WELL taken care of, the guy used it to do some mowing and the loader was in storage when I went to look at it. It has new ag tires and was serviced every year at a JD dealer. The tiller is a 550 and this thing is clean enough to eat off of. Did I get a decent deal? Oh, it has 1500 hrs, is that a lot? I've never owned anything bigger than my 42" cub cadet lawn tractor so, this should be interesting and most of all, fun! I just wanted it to do some plots and for a hobby. Is there anything trouble wise that I need to keep an eye out for that they're known for? Thanks everyone!!

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    Drobinson, Thanks, what part of PA are you in?

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    850

    From my prospective you did good on the price/ Some rocks will not hurt. A old spring tooth drag may help bring them uo. I would still use a sub soiler will help break them apart and also dislodge them more. Then use your drag and work it for a while. Let the rain wash the top and you will see them better. YUO did not say but how big of a area 100 by 100 bigger or smaller?

    I have sandy ground with some rocks and used my 318 before I I got the 4100. Still have the rotor tiller on the 318 modified to a 3 point. Still hydraulic. The 2 inch or so rocks do not see to bother it but will leave them laying on top for the most part.

    Ground does not have to be perfect gust free of grass and weeds to allow the seed to get a good start.

    You tractor should handle any 5 foot disk drag or rake. A 2 bottom older Ford Dearborn plow will work on it. start shallow and then go deeper. Take your time and will work out

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    I always went through virgin ground with a Middlebuster to find the large rocks. Then I would till. I like to be kind to my tines.
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    The soil looks good the first couple inches then it's full of nasy clay, is there a way to just work the top couple inches of good soil and not bring up the nasy clay? I planted a small 50x50 spot with an atv and used a small bottom plow, that soil is like molding clay but, where I haven't touched, the soil is actually very nice. It seems when I pulled up the bad soil, it was full of clay and when it didn't rain, it got hard like cement. The I want to plant a few acres and see how it goes. Just not sure how to keep that soil from being mixed in. Any suggestions? Thanks.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Duster1 View Post
    The soil looks good the first couple inches then it's full of nasy clay, is there a way to just work the top couple inches of good soil and not bring up the nasy clay? I planted a small 50x50 spot with an atv and used a small bottom plow, that soil is like molding clay but, where I haven't touched, the soil is actually very nice. It seems when I pulled up the bad soil, it was full of clay and when it didn't rain, it got hard like cement. The I want to plant a few acres and see how it goes. Just not sure how to keep that soil from being mixed in. Any suggestions? Thanks.
    Your tiller should have a depth setting. Set it to just churn up the top soil section without bringing up the clay or control it with the 3-point hitch control. All you really need is ~2"-3" of tilled top soil to plant seed.
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