ASK Jeff: The Rodale Institute’s farm manager, Jeff Moyer, answers your hardcore farming questions

Can I use a roller on the bucket position of my loader?

Posted August 10, 2006

What Jeff brings to the table

Jeff Moyer, who’s been the farm manager here at the 333-acre Rodale Institute research farm for more than a quarter of a century, receives lots of mail from farmers just like you asking for advice. Jeff’s hands-in-the-dirt experience over the past 26 years has run the gamut from refining the farm's cover cropping and crop rotation systems (including managing 270 acres in a rotation of corn, small grains, hay, and edible soy beans for a Japanese market) to overseeing The Rodale Institue Farming Systems Trial®, the world’s longest running side-by-side comparison of organic and conventional agriculture. We thought it would be fun and informative to share some of these farmer-to-farmer exchanges, and Jeff’s practical wisdom, with our readers … and we’ll be doing it on a regular basis.

Got a question of your own? Click here to send it to Jeff.

Dear Jeff,

Are any of the roller designs capable of fitting on the bucket position of a loader? I have a John Deere 5420 with quick disconnect bucket/forks, etc. Is the problem with this that the hydraulics won't apply consistent downward pressure?

John Manuel

Dear John,

Thanks for the question on the cover crop roller. I've never tried to mount the roller onto a bucket loader frame, but other farmers have. The trick is to make sure the valve that operates the loader's lift cylinders has a float or detent position. You'll want to avoid the "down pressure" idea since you won't be able to have a consistent depth control as the soil surface changes. Plus, if you do put down pressure on the roller, you won't be able to steer the tractor. The float position takes care of both these issues.

Good luck,