This topic contains 3 replies, has 3 voices, and was last updated by  dominiquer60 4 years, 1 month ago.

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    Stephen Leslie

    Hello again Teamsters,
    I am doing research for a writing project on the subject of Market Gardening with horses. I am writing articles for Rural Heritage and Small Farmer’s Journal on horse-drawn implements and the systems that evolve around their use—with an eye towards eventually producing a 2nd book (1st one is THE NEW HORSE-POWERED FARM).
    My current question has to do with the Disc Harrows…I am wondering if any of the horse-powered (or mule or oxen-powered) market gardeners—or anyone managing crops with draft animals—here could tell me about the use of Discs on your farm? Do you have a new model designed for horses? Or a tractor tow-behind disc modified for horses? Or a vintage model? Does your disc have a tongue? Does it have a tongue cart? Or do you tow the disc behind a forecart? Anyone using tandem discs? How many horses do you typically employ on the discs? Anyone have a single horse Disc? Do you use the disc to follow the plow? Do you ever use the disc as a primary tillage implement instead of plowing?
    If you do write a response and don’t mind being quoted could you also include your name and the name and location (town, state or province) of your farm? If I do use your quote I’ll let you know where and when it will appear beforehand. It’s amazing to have this forum as a resource–I am grateful for all the great communication that happens here.
    Thanks in advance! Stephen Leslie

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    Rivendell Farm

    Hi Stephen,
    That’s a lot of questions. I may be able to answer a few from my own experience. I disc mostly with a tractor now since I only have three horses, but on a small tandem disc I used four or five horses abreast, depending on what I had at the time. It was an old seven foot,John Deere disc that had a tongue truck at one time, but when I got it it only had a tongue, the sort used with tractors. Of course I couldn’t pull it down hills on solid ground with horses because it would run up on their heels. I generally used a tractor to pull it to the field. I put a seat from a Pioneer cart on the disc to replace the board the previous owner used to stand on. It gave kind of a wild ride the first discing after plowing. When the horses were pulling, the draft angle lifted the tongue up enough to clear the ground. It needed an extra long set of lines to reach the center of the disc. For a small field probably 3 horses could pull it OK. I was usually working as much as 12 acres at a time. I have also pulled it with the cart on occasion. I haven’t used it for primary tillage, because it isn’t heavy enough. Good luck with your writing project. Bob


    Stephen Leslie

    Thanks Bob, We also use a HD disc that came with a modified stub tongue for tractor and without a tongue truck. It is a six-foot single action. I put a tongue on it and found the ride way too bumpy so have ended up pulling it behind the cart. Not the most efficient use of horse power, but works OK on our small acreage.



    I use an old HD disc, no tongue wheel, it is a single gang 6′ with levers for adjusting the angle of attack. It came with a set of shafts, but the previous owned just had a logging horse and a small garden, so it was effort for a single but not bad over for a small area. I use it with a pair of horses or steers to work in cover crops or to work a freshly plowed land. Once the plowed ground is worked up enough I switch to a cultimulcher as long as there is not too much trash to get caught in the tines, this leaves the ground much more level than the dics. We have an 8′ JD KBA tandem tractor disc that we can use behind a cart with hydraulics, it takes all 6 horses to use it.

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