Stubble Mulch Blade Plow
2' to 4' V-blades; 26" sweeps)
Overview: Intermediate types of tools that combine tillage aspect of chisel plows with residue-maintaining aspects of the heavier wide-blade sweep plow. Used for first tillage after crop harvest where a depth of 3" to 6" is sufficient. Limits moisture loss better compared with chisel plow by conserving more residue due to fewer soil openings from more widely spaced shanks. Cannot provide rough soil surface to control wind erosion and trap moisture that a chisel plow with shovels can. Saves 75 to 95 percent of surface residue.
Design Features: Some tools in this broad category use single-piece V-blades that fit on V-shaped base standards (as illustrated). These bases usually operate deeper than do tools using 26" low-profile sweeps. V-blades 36" to 48" wide mount on straight shanks 34" to 44" on center. The flat 'wheatland' type sweeps mount on elongated chisel-plow type shanks 20" on center. Best results in high residue with two ranks; some units have three ranks. Fore-to-aft clearance 24" to 40" between ranks - more distance lets more residue flow through.
Model for comparison: 24' folding frame, drawn/pull type, with coulters (not illustrated)
Rec. PTO HP: 160 to 200
Speed: 5 mph
List price: $16,400 to $25,300
Width range (all makers/all models): 18' to 63'
Sources: 7, 33, 65, 68
Farmers: Artho, Berning, Cavin
Note: Rolling mulch treaders are optional rear attachments widely used on residue management units. Treaders feature curved flat teeth radiating with a slight twist to an 18.5" diameter from a central hub. The teeth ends pin residue into the tilled soil (to prevent blowing and hasten decomposition) and increase weed kill at the soil surface. Because of their aggressive action, treaders must be used with caution or removed when preserving residue is more important than working it in.