Call our Sales Team on 0208 912 2120

Finding Off-season Work foi le Farmers' Mechanical Plant

27th December 1940
Page 18
Page 19
Page 18, 27th December 1940 — Finding Off-season Work foi le Farmers' Mechanical Plant
Noticed an error?
If you've noticed an error in this article please click here to report it so we can fix it.

Which of the following most accurately describes the problem?

An Agricultural Authority Points the Way to the Winter Use of Farming Tackle in Connection with Jobs on Land that has Been


EXCEPT for the ploughing of grassland and the winter cultivation of pastures, on which it is necessary to improve the herbage, the range of tractor operations is normally curtailed to a considerable extent, between the end of November and the

latter. part. of February. There is, however, scope for employing the tackle on certain jolis which are necessary where the land' has been neglected.

Prominent among these are matters connected with drainage. It has long been recognized among farmers that vast areas of our land were unproductive because of waterlogging, and national schemes of improvement were called for. Now that the production of more food is an urgent national need, the Government has Called for the general cleaning out of watercourses and ditches. , The extent of operations required, however, after so many years of neglect, renders the task formidable.

Ploughing Contractors and Mole-draining

Generally speaking, there are neither the time nor the resources available to uncle/take a great deal of pipe draining and the line of attack will be based chiefly on mole-draining and the cleaning out of ditches. Mole-draining is a method restricted to the'clay soils, but, where conditions are ,ruitable, it is one which can be carried out by most ploughing contractors and any farmers who have sufficiently powerful tackle.

For the benefit of those who are unfamiliar with this operation it may be explained that it consists of boring a series of tunnels through the soil by means of a mole plough. This is a simple implement and, in its cheapest form, comprises a frame, built to slide on the surface of the land, in which is held a stout steel cutting bladeat the foot of Which is the mole.

As the tool is drawn forward the cylindrical mole cuts its way through the soil, leaving behind a channel through which water can the outlet. The mole is, commonly, 2-0 ins, bore for tractor use and by means of an expander, which may be hitched behind it, the drains can be enlarged if desired to 4 ins. Such expansion may be desirable where one bore is to act as a main drain and carry water from several minors.

On this class of mole plough the depth of working is regulated by the position at which the blade is set in the sliding frame. There are also more elaborate types, some of which are also usable as sub-soilers. These have frames built up on wheels and are usually capable of working to a greater depth than the lighter types. As to the Method of traction, the traditional style is the cable system, with steam engines operating the plough. While some of these outfits are still at work, especially in the heavy-land districts of the Eastern Counties, where they are especially favoured, the majority of work to-day

is done by tractor. With sufficient power available, one can do the job by direct traction, but the smaller tractors can turn out an excellent job if fitted with a winch.

On direct traction a crawler tractor is, generally, considered essential and there should be not less than 25 h.p. available at the drawbar, whilst it is far better to have 50 h.p. if one wants. to do a job comparable with steam tackle.

There are several good makes of

tractor winch on the market, which can be operated with the popular types of wheeled tractor. Most of these are mounted directly on the tractor, but at least one is made as a self-contained unit to be trailed behind the tractor. In this . case the method of drive is from the power take-off on the tractor, whereas most of the others take their drive from the belt pulley through a chain and sprockets.

The layout of mole-draining systems calls for a certain degree of experience and skilled knowledge. There are some basic principles, however, which may help to guide those to whom the system

is new. The drains depend on the contour of the land for their fall, since the depth of the mole is constant with relation to the surface over which the

mole plough has passed. Therefore, the system must be laid out so as to get a 'natural fall.

Mole drains may be run so as to discharge into a ditch, but better results are obtained in the long run if they be led into a main drain, which, in turn, conducts the water to an open watercourse. If the mole drains are to discharge into a main drain, the trench for this may be cut first, and then the mole plough may be conveniently started for each drain by entering it in the side of the trench.

Sometimes, especially if a mole-drawn main is to be employed instead of a piped main, a series of entry holes is first cut along the line of the main, but it is then necessary to insert pipes where these boles cut the main before closing them up. fl-orne mole ploughs are self-entering.

At times it is possible to enter the plough in the side of a ditch into which the drains are to discharge. Wherever mole drains-do discharge into ditches instead of into main drains the ends must be piped for 3-4 yds. in to prevent destruction of the outlets.

The depth at which mole drains must be inserted varies according to soil and other conditions. The minimum useful level is about 15 ins, on grassland and

24 ins, on arable. In some districts, where steam tackle is employed, the drains may be inserted at another foot deeper, but it is doubtful whether such 'depth is often justifiable.

When a Trench Plough Is found Useful If the contractor be fortunate enough to be able to secure a mechanical excavator for trench digging he may well greatly enlarge the scope of his work, but the demand for these machines in other directions is particularly heavy just now and few of them are available forfarm use.

If the land concerned be easy working ground, some form of trench plough may be found useful in trench digging for pipe laying, and may be constructed in any reasonably equipped workshop. Such implements for tractor haulage comprise a steel cutting blade of the required width—usually about 10 ins.—mounted on a frame which embodies an inclined delivery plate, up which the soil is pushed.

Some form of chute to deliver to the side is also required, whilst it is a valuable, if not essential, feature to mount a pair of cutting discs in front of the share to make the vertical cuts through the ground.

The amount that such a plough will take at each cut depends, to a large 'degree, on the power available and the soil conditions. About 4-5 ins, would be usual. D


comments powered by Disqus