Do you have any experience with a PTO tiller, like the Howard?
I've got 120 acres of former crop ground that has been in
grass for a few years. A lot of the ground is rough from prior
renters, gophers, etc. Rather than traditional tillage, I've
been looking at tillers in the 10- to 12-foot range. There
are none in central Minnesota and I can find no one that has
experience with one. The closest Howard dealer is near Chicago,
and I'm not going to buy a piece of equipment like this without
trying it out. This is corn, bean and black-and-white cow
Thanks for the email and the question about tillage. The
Institute actually owns two Howard Rotovators—a 5 footer
and a 7 footer. I wish you lived closer; I'd gladly let you
borrow one to see how you liked it. We don't really use the
tiller much so my experience is limited, but I'll tell you
what I know. We use the 5-foot model in our vegetable operations
to prepare a good, one pass seedbed and to incorporate crop
residue after harvest. I know there are some folks out there
talking about running the tiller over the ground at a fairly
fast ground speed to just tear up the surface of the soil
at a shallow depth, but I've never tried that.
I'm not sure how you planned on using one if you got one.
If your thought was to use it as a one-pass tillage tool at
a depth of 8 inches or so, I'd say it would be too slow and
damaging to the soil structure (especially if the soil is
wet). They really can pulverize the soil, creating a hardpan
and destroying the soil structure if used too often that way.
If your thoughts are to use it as a fast-moving shallow tiller,
I have no experience to help you out. I will say that the
Howard equipment we have is well built and has never given
us cause to say otherwise. It is tough as nails.
Good luck, and let me know what you end up doing and how
it works out.