Report on the Agricultural Experiment Stations, 1952 Page: 5
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AGRICULTURAL ENGINEERING 5
Once-over tillage saves fuel and labor
Once-over soil preparation that eliminates extra tillage operations
has helped cut down seedbed preparation costs while still maintaining
crop yields. Tests at the Michigan station show that plowing, light
conditioning, and planting performed as a single operation produced
as high yields of small grains on soil of good tilth as conventional
seedbed preparation that included double-disking and spike-tooth
harrowing. The once-over method permits quicker planting and
saves motor fuel, since two disking and two harrowing operations are
eliminated. Another advantage is that under this method soil has
greater water-storage capacity, since tilth is not broken down by excessive
At current rates for custom work, conventional methods of tillage
would cost $4 an acre for plowing; $1.50 for disking once; $1.50 for
dragging once; and $1.50 for drilling-a total of $8.50 an acre. A
typical once-over tillage operation, on the other hand, would cost $4
for plowing and combined tillage operations, and $1.50 for drilling-a
total of $5.50 per acre or a saving of $3 an acre over conventional
Another promising implement is the so-called plow combine or
once-over tillage device that consists essentially of a standard plow
with a plow packer immediately behind, or a standard plow with
mulcher. The total horsepower hours per acre for preparation of a
seedbed were lowest with the plow and plow packer combination. The
plow followed by the revolving packing-type tiller appears to be the
most efficient from the standpoint of power and labor requirements.
It also gave the highest yields.
A new hitch for rear-mounted tractor tools
An improved hitch for tools that can be mounted on the rear of the
tractor has been developed by the Iowa station.
The hitch affects the steering of the plow, making it operate more
satisfactorily on curves by stabilizing the width of cut on curves under
various soil conditions. The hitch also is so arranged as to carry part
of the side-thrust on the tractor. A third feature provides proper
suction to the plow for all conditions. With this equipment it is possible
to plow 3 inches deep without the plow jumping out of the furrow,
and to change to a 10-inch depth of cut and still have plenty of
suction to load the rear of the tractor sufficiently so it can pull the
In addition to the plow and the one-way disk the hitch has also been
applied to a mounted two-row lister. The lister provides smooth
operation around the curves, maintains uniform depth of planting,
and insures uniform operation of covering wheels.
Specialized power unit for Everglades farming
Agricultural production in the Florida Everglades requires a very
complex program of carefully timed spraying or dusting operations
for control of insects, plant diseases, weeds, grasses and, more recently,
for application of plant nutrients in liquid form. In an attempt to
meet these specialized needs the Florida station formulated a series of
basic functional requirements for a new piece of farm equipment
known as the Everglades Mule.
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United States. Office of Experiment Stations. Report on the Agricultural Experiment Stations, 1952, book, January 1953; Washington D.C.. (digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc5990/m1/7/: accessed September 20, 2017), University of North Texas Libraries, Digital Library, digital.library.unt.edu; crediting UNT Libraries Government Documents Department.