Spike Tooth Harrow : A spike tooth harrow cuts through clods, manure, and grasses to break up material into finer pieces so that it can be spread evenly across the ground. This harrow can smooth hay fields and pastures, loosen compacted soil, aerate legume crops, and uncover overwintering parasites. Using a harrow before spring or fall plantings can increase soil/seed contact, increasing the chances for seeds to germinate and establish. The spike tooth harrow requires a 20hp tractor minimum with a 3 point hitch to pull and can be transported in the back of a truck or on a trailer.
Flail Mower : A flail mower is essential for clearing heavy grass cover. Overgrown fields or pastures, patches of dense weeds, or last cuttings of hay can be cut using a flail mower while keeping any debris kicked up safely within the cutting chamber. Used in conjunction with a harrow, a landowner can create a layer of material to be worked into the soil to add essential organic matter. The flail mower requires a 20 to 40hp tractor with hydraulics and a 3 point hitch to pull and can be transported in the back of a truck or on a trailer.
Ring Roller: A ring roller, or cultipacker, is used to prepare a seedbed during planting. A set of heavy metal wheels roll over the surface of the field, breaking up clods and pushing small stones down into the soil to create an even surface. After broadcasting seed, the cultipacker can be drug over the field or pasture to push seeds shallowly into the seedbed, allowing for excellent soil/seed contact. The ring roller requires a 20 to 40hp tractor with a drag hitch to pull and must be placed on a trailer by a tractor to transport.
Pasture Harrow: The pasture harrow is similar to the spike tooth harrow and accomplishes the same tasks. What makes our pasture harrow different is scale. This harrow can be drug by any size tractor, the smaller the better, or even behind an ATV. The scale makes it a good fit for smaller fields. The pasture harrow is small enough to fit in the back of a truck or even a car trunk.
No-Till Drill Seeder: The no-till drill seeder is an excellent cultivation and conservation tool. It can plant seeds at a relatively even distribution throughout a field without much soil disturbance. A cultivator furrows the soil enough to place seed, and a set of wheels follows to close the furrow. No-till seeding can reduce the loss of seed to predation and germination failure, increasing yields. It also reduces erosion and maintains soil structure essential for maximizing water holding capacity. Our no-till drill seeder requires a 40 to 50hp tractor to pull, and must be transported overland behind a truck utilizing a pin hitch. Contact JSWCD for more information on transportation and use of the no-till drill seeder.
No-Till Drill Seeder Instructional video by West Michigan Conservation District:
No-Till Drill Seeder Calibration demonstration:FLEXII-Manual-2013.pdf
Soil Auger: Before you spend money on expensive fertilizers, find out what your soil needs. Our soil auger will allow you to collect soil samples from your field or pasture that you can send to an analytical lab for testing. The soil auger is a hand held device that bores a small sample of soil approximately 8 to 12” deep. Contact JSWCD for information on collecting soil samples and a list of analytical labs that do soil testing.
Soil Moisture Step Probe: Seeing is believing, and until you actually get down and dirty under the soil, it is almost impossible to determine how the soil is reacting to your irrigation management. If you wait until the plants show signs of too little water (or too much), it may be too late. A soil step probe allows the manager to easily determine what is going on beneath the surface without disturbing the crop. Use in conjunction with the Soil Moisture by Feel guide, found here.
Common questions the Soil Moisture Step Probe can help answer:
1.) When should I start irrigating?
2.) When should I stop irrigating?
3.) How thick is my grass/pasture thatch layer?
Simple Instructional video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ca2FlOTGFC4