Steps to best prep a field for planting row crops.


5 year old buck +
I’m looking for ideas on how to reduce the number of passes I’m taking to prepare my field for planting. This spring I planted 2 acres of corn and 2 acres of beans and it took me allot longer then I think it should. I’m looking for ideas on how other guys are getting it done. Here is what I do:

I have a seven foot disc I use to turn over the soil, I then pull a 5 foot drag harrow to break up the clots and smooth the surface (this doesn’t always work super well), I then plant with a two row planter and finally I cultipack with a 8’ cultipacker.

I’d like to get rid of one step if possible and was thinking if I could prep my seed bed better with the harrow I might not have to cultipack.

What steps are guys doing to get their fields ready to plant.
Two passes with a disk over bean stubble should be good to go. Corn stubble is more work but I just broadcast the soybeans and disk them in with one pass and your good to go. I put 6 acres or so in beans and 6 acres in corn and alternate them every year. Way too much work to plant corn after corn so I quit. Much easier to plant beans in corn stubble and plant corn in the bean stubble.
I have yet to see a any benefit of a cultipacker. Of all the things out there, it is the lowest on my list.
What type of harrow is it? Maybe attaching it to the disk with a couple short chains would help. It may take 2-3 rounds of the disc and harrow to get things smoothed out.

If you are using a planter that is getting the seeds down to the depth they need, I don't think you would need to cultipack. It may make the field look nicer, but I don't think it would be needed.

+1 to what Steve says about broadcasting the beans and then disking over them. My father in law planted 100s of acres of beans like that for 20+ years, and got great yields. They bought a new planter in 2013 so that was the first year they didn't do the broadcasting in a long time.
The main issue you're facing is the size/weight of equiptment. The heavier a disk is the better it will be at burying corn stalks. Another issue may be disking when the soil has too much moisture which can cause clumping. My recommendation would be attaching drag to the disk and adding weight if possible. Even with larger equiptment I still make two passes at times so I wouldn't stress about 2 or even 3 passes. There is no reason to cultipack after seeding with a planter with corn and beans unless you are combining beans. If you have a tractor you can find old disks for cheap that are very heavy. I bought a 12 ft Oliver hydraulic disk that weighs a lot for 300 bucks. This is what I use now and it really works good minus the rocks that pop up.
The harrow I have is the old style with 5 rows of teeth that look like small railroad spikes. I was thinking of attaching a harrow behind the disk so I might try that.

I'm always interested in doing things better which is probably why I take so many passes. Riggsgwp, nice looking disc, that looks like it can get it done.
I would experiment with disking under different soil moisture conditions. I think it's possible for you to disk once or twice and then plant, avoiding both the harrow and cultipacker. Planters can handle a few clumps and trash.
The cultipacker step is a waste if your planting with a 2 row planter. It may make your plot look nice to your eyes, but completely unnecessary.
The cultipacker step might be over kill for your row crops. I only use mine if I need to push rock back into the soil. Most guys will roll there bean if the are worried about there combine head getting beat up. (That is if the seed bed was prepped well enough that allow the seed to be planted at the right depth.)

I use my roller to firm up and level before I broadcast my Brassica or other small seeds.

You might want to look at getting a spring tooth drag to replace your "spike style" they brake up clots better and can be pull in both directions One being more aggressive than the other.

There is a spring and fall consignment auction South of your place (Ram auction in Bell River)that always has a bunch of them on it.