Monday, April 27, 2020

Discing Corn Stalks

The first step in breaking down last years crop before a new one can be planted is, in this case, to disc the corn stubble. What remains of last years corn crop is 18-30" tall stalks, cut by the combine last fall when it harvested the ears of corn. They are tough and hollow, a little like bamboo.

The ground we're working on will be seeded with oats and red clover, immediately after a second pass with the disc. It is supposed to rain tomorrow. By the end of the week it should be dry enough to drill the seeds. We (myself, Gramps, and Max) will be using my Deere 750 grain drill, video here.

These 4 parcels, totaling about 102 tillable acres, are being transitioned to USDA Organic production. The first certified harvest will be in the fall of 2022.

The oats will be mowed off as a "green manure", along with any weeds that make it through, by the end of June. The clover will continue growing underneath, fixing Nitrogen and putting down deepish roots, until it is disced under in late summer of 2021. Then a "tillage" radish will be planted in order to scavenge nitrogen and break up any hardpan in the soil. In spring of 2022 it will be planted to organic (feed) corn.

(Click on any picture to make it bigger.)

A lot of residue.

After one pass with the disc.
If I saw big rocks I'd stop and put them in the rack. If they were too big to pick up but near the edge of the field, I'd roll them to the edge. There were several that were too big to move at all and we'll need to take the loader out there to get them moved.

Case 7140 MWFD Tractor and 25 foot wide Krause 8200 Disc Harrow

Sunday was a long day.


  1. thanks for stepping us through the process... we all need to know the basics of how our food production system works, and you do a great job in bringing us in.

    1. Farming is more complicated than a lot of people realize. Thanks for sharing the process. SLF