CASFS – Tractors and Bee installations

In addition to hand dug beds, CASFS has several acres of fields that are mechanically tilled. Each of the tractor implements has one or two unique functions. There are two methods of tillage. First, primary tillage, which is the equivalent of double digging with a deep. This is deep cultivation done with a spader, disc, plow, or chisels. Then, there is secondary tillage, which is the the equivalent of working with a fork/rake. This is surface cultivation, the equivalent of raising soil into raised beds, weeding, forming beds, and creating seedbeds. Here at the farm they use Lilliston cultivators, knives and sweeps, a spring tooth harrow, bed shapers, or a disc harrow. In the fall, cover crop is planted densely at 200 lbs/acre with a grain drill. See below for the tye grain drill used on the farm. With this implement, the germination rate is extremely good, and is used for planting wheat in many placed across the country.

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In the spring, the fields are mowed with a flail or rotary motor, and spread with compost or manure at the rate of 5 tones an acre. The crop residue is spaded in with a mechanical spader. The beds are moved into peaked beds with the Lilliston with spider gangs, and then weed flushed at the thread stage. Finally, beds are flattened and seeded or transplanted. After the season, any crop residue is mowed down with an undercutter bar, and a good mulch is dropped. In fall, the mulch is turned in with the disc a couple of times.

This is a field after being rolled over with the discer. Learned that you can ounly make left hand turns on a tractor with a discer, otherwise running the disc of popping off a disc from the force of ground force. When using a discer, you can run the risk of causing a plow pan, therefore making a spader much more preferable. Also, many more passes are needed with a discer.

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Checking out the bed shaper… attached by a quick hitch, with a diamond tool bar, and planting and tamping mechanisms.

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So many implements. If they could only have three attachments, the crew here would have a flail mower, spader, and Lilliston.

Our bees arrived this week, and we learned how to install a hive. Good thing we have tons of plantain around the farm, as a chewed leaf can provide relief for a sting.

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Here is one of the eight packages of bees that arrived, at $85.00/ package. The queen comes in her own private box, since the queen is not the original queen for this hive. She has to be accepted by the hive, and therefore is protected in her own space until we know the hive has accepted her. In the meantime, we stuffed a marsh mallow into her box, to temporarily seal her off for a few days. The bees will eat away the marshmallow, and by that time, they should have accepted her. We used Langstrom hives. The best place for bees is a place where they can be touched by early morning sun, with the door facing east, however, a little bit of shade can be good if it’s really hot. Also, your hive needs a source of water nearby.

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