It does save money, but it also is a lot of work. My equipment isn't as big as the custom guys -- my disk is 12' wide, not 30, and my plow is a 4 bottom instead of an 8, and my tractor is only 125hp instead of 200, so each step takes me a little longer, but for the cost of maintenance and some diesel, I can get my 60 acres prepped and planted. It takes 22 hours to plow the ground as the first pass, but I spent some time grading before I started plowing -- removing little hills and valleys that some flood in the past had put into the ground. When I hay the ground later this year I don't want the mower to hit the ground, so I spent a day rounding all of the little hills and smoothing the valleys out so that all of the slope are gentle and mower-friendly.
I'm choosing to plow the ground because it got packed hard by the harvesting of the corn last year; the corn chopper weighs a lot, and the semi-trucks loaded with 20 tons of silage each also contributed. When it's hard-packed there's no space for water, and it's harder for plants to thrive. Plowing increases the water holding capacity and softens the dirt for root development.
|can you see the cows?|
|closeup of the same shot, showing cows|