Thursday, May 21, 2009

Another Day, Another Tractor

I got some good experience on another tractor today, a John Deere model called the High Crop. I had backed it up about 25 feet once before, but today and yesterday I got some real work done with it. There is more going on with this tractor than with the little G from the 40’s, and it has considerably more power as well. I found it a bit intense at first, just trying to keep it all in my head and stay focused and sharp so that I didn’t take out any fences. There wasn’t really too much danger of that, but I won’t say it was an absolute impossibility either.

I was using it to disc a couple of fields. Discing is a kind of plowing that is done after primary plowing. If you can imagine a field planted in grass, first a tractor pulls an implement with a few sharp, curved wedges through the soil, turning it over, breaking up the sod and the soil. Discing, the tractor pulls an implement with two rows of vertical discs that further break up the soil and even out the level of the soil. After discing, another implement smooths it out further in preparation for making the final planting beds.

In any case, the John Deere has more power, more gears, brakes, two separate implements with their own raising and lowering levers, and a throttle, as well as several other controls that I know nothing about. As I started into a row, I would get in gear, ease up on the clutch and lower the discs (smoothly if possible) into the soil and try to move in a straight line through to the other end of the field. The tricky part comes if the ground is very uneven, with big mounds of dirt and depressions and gullies, and if the soil is soft and deep. In the second field I did, I had to continually adjust the level of the discs in order to find the right compromise between getting deep enough to effectively break up the soil and even it out, and keeping it high enough not to get held back in the thick dirt and not spin my tires around too much.

I think I did alright, and certainly the field looked a lot better after I had spent a couple hours on it than it had at the beginning, but I’m sure I have lots more to learn and plenty of practicing ahead of me.

That's all I'm going to pass along right now.  I hope everyone is doing well.

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