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An Excess Of Nitrogen
Controlling Root-growth
Cultivation Of Plants
Desirable Physical Condition Of The Soil
Elimination Of Competition
Method Of Plowing
The Breaking-plow
The Disk Harrow
Time Of Plowing
Types Of Plows

More from TILLAGE

Crops And Methods For Soil Improvement

A Bit Of Arithmetic
A Clean Seed-bed
A Few Combinations Are Safest
A Practical Test
A Southern Legume
A Three Years' Rotation
Acid Phosphate
Acquaintance With Terms
Adaptation To Eastern Needs
Affecting Physical Condition
All The Nitrogen From Clover
Alsike Clover
Amount Of Application
Amount Of Manure

The Disk Harrow

The purpose of the plow is to break up the soil so
that it will be crumbly and mellow. The frequency with which land
should be thoroughly stirred to full plow-depth depends upon the
condition of the soil and the character of the crops. Oftentimes a disk
or cutaway harrow may replace the plow. Its action is the same as that
of the plow, loosening and turning the soil over. When land has had a
good plowing within the year, and has not become compact, stirring to a
depth of four inches may give a better seed-bed for some crops than
could be made by use of a plow. This is true of land that has produced
a cultivated crop and is being prepared for a fall-seeding. The gain in
time of preparing ground for oats in the spring makes the use of the
disk or cutaway harrow profitable on mellow corn-stubble land.

There is temptation to carry the substitution of the disk harrow for
the breaking-plow too far. Its use alone would have the same effect as
poor plowing, reducing the depth of the soil. The surface soil, down to
plow-depth, is the chief feeding-ground for plants because it is kept
in good tilth by organic matter and tillage. The depth of this soil
affects the amount of available plant-food and water. The duration of
time between deep plowings depends upon the soil and the crops.
Experience shows that when land has been broken for corn or potatoes or
beans or similar crop, the one plowing may be sufficient for a
succeeding crop. If grass is not seeded with the succeeding crop, it is
best to give another thorough plowing before seeding to grass in August
if the soil is heavy, but in naturally loose soils a disk harrow makes
a better seed-bed.

Two influences favor such undue dependence upon a disk harrow that a
soil may become shallow: the cost of preparing the seed-bed is reduced,
and the saving in moisture may give a better stand of plants when the
harrow takes the place of the plow. The immediate productiveness of a
crop is not an assurance that the method is right: consideration for
the good of the land must be shown. Depth of soil is a requirement of a
good agriculture, and deep plowing is a means to that end. The
looseness of the soil and the character of the season may make
substitution right in one instance and wrong in another. Deep soils,
well filled with organic matter, will bear shallow preparation of a
seed-bed more frequently than thin soils, and yet it is the latter that
may profit most by having its best part kept near the surface at the
time a new sod must be made. The disk harrow has some place as a
substitute for a plow, but when its use results in making a soil more
shallow, the harm is a most serious one.

Next: Cultivation Of Plants

Previous: Method Of Plowing

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