How to Plow a Field

How to Plow a Field

Adam P Hello, I am sorry for the dumb question. I have an MF 245, a small 3 point plow, a disk harrow, and a cultivator. I have a 30 acre farm in WV, and want to plow and plant a wildflower meadow. The field in mind used to grow crops many years ago, and other fields on my place mainly grew hay. I want to plow and plant one field that is about 4 acres, and then later in the summer start plowing the other fields so i can kill most of the weeds before i really start to grow something. I have no idea how to use a plow once i get it on the tractor. Please advise this greenhorn!
Steve in SJ Find the center of the field in the front center and back, mark off the center with stakes or sticks if you want to just run them over. Eye up the last stake with the first two just to give yourself a straight line. line up the tractor on the stakes and plow as straight as you can. turn around at the end and plow back up the field with the first bottom completely over lapping so that the middle hill is higher than the rest again as straight as you can.When you get to the top again line up the wheel in the ditch(furrow) so that the first bottom is covering up the furrow. The object is to have all of the hills(accept center) even. I don’t Know what adjustments you have on you plow but it is fairly easy to figure out.

Next time you plow the field you want to throw the dirt out so you have a ditch instead of the center ridge. When disking always go off a few degrees from straight to help level field and you will have to disk the ridge several times to knock it down.Don’t forget to use a heavy pipe or square stock behind the disk(a little longer).

The disk should also be adjustable, the more rank the adjustment the more dirt gets thrown in the middle. Also slowing down or speeding up will adjust this. Still shooting for level.

In a larger Fields you can divide the field in half or thirds.

I would start out in second or third for plowing and jump up a gear for disking and adjust gear as needed.

After plowing let the field set for at least two weeks then at least a week between disking. You’ll have to disk at least twice.
Adam P How deep do you let the plow dig in?
Steve in SJ some only plow 6 or 8 inches and I’ve seen guys who plow so deep that they could only pull the plow after a good heavy rain, maybe 12 inches (measured in the furrow after your a couple passes away from the center ridge) Another thing you may want to consider is sub soiling especially in the hay fields to break up the hard pan. sub soilers are usually pretty cheap and well worth the price in some types of soil
BOB UK When I first started to go ploughing I had the same question, but how I set mine up was to get some concrete blocks or strong wood and built a small ramp so I could drive the tractor up on the left hand side wheels (both front and back) this would give the tractor the same tilt as if it was ploughing, the height should be as the same depth you are ploughing at, try 6″ first That will give you a good start.

By lowering the plough to the ground (do this on a flat surface) to start with adjust the top link so the base of both ploughs are sitting flat on the ground, then adjust the hydraulic arm so as the plough side is vertical, you may have to lift the plough up and down a few times to get it to sit right but in the end it should look vertical and sit flat on the ground.

Take it out for its first try, the first furrow will be useless as the tractor wheels are not in the ground but the second one will be and any fine tuning can be done.

Fine tuning could be required if the furrow does not turn over completely, this could be because the plough is not vertical in the ground or that the ground is not flat, just adjust the hydraulic arm up a bit to compensate for it. also the plough might not want to “dig” into the ground to get started so shorten the top link this will put the front of the plough down.

If you clean the hydraulic arm were it joins the adjuster you will feel or see a small grove in the lower arm, once you have got the hang of setting it up you can use the mark to set it up every time, by measuring the gap, always turn the handle one complete turn at a time and keep count so you can put it back and try again if you have turned it the wrong way.

Hope this is of help.


One Comment

  1. Eric:

    Hello Bob,

    I’m glad I found this blog “how to plow a field”! However, I’m a newbie and still have questions. I sure wish my Grandfather was still alive to show me this stuff.

    Anyway, I have 40 acres which I used to co-op to a local farmer to grow shurgum. It’s been three years since he last did anything to the land (not sure what happened to him). I would like to start growing grain for my turkeys and chickens. Where do I start? The land is mostly sandy, with no irrigation, on the Eastern plains East of Denver.

    The past three years the property has gone ‘natural’, with rye grass and weeds growing. Can I just start by using a disc, followed by a harrow? I have a (small) seed drill already, but I’m shopping around for a disc.

    Thanks in advance,


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