What is Discing a Field? 11 Things (2022) You Should Know (2022)

Have you ever heard of the practice of discing a field?

Discing is an important tillage practice that is used for soil preparation.

It’s done using a disc harrow, which is a piece of farm machinery utilized to break down soil clods.

This allows water to penetrate more easily and that increases soil aeration as well as enhances the activity of the soil flora and fauna.

Ultimately, when you disc a field, you’re left with a seedbed that is suitable for growing crops.

In this blog, we’re going to discuss all you should know about what disc harrowing is and how you can use it to improve your farming practices.

Let’s get started.

1. What is a disc harrow?

A disc harrow is an agricultural implement that is used to till the soil where crops will be planted.

It can also be used to chop up any unwanted weeds or crop remainders.

Throughout your research, you may also hear the term “discer” if you’re interested in discing a field.

A discer is an evolved form of a disc harrow.

It was developed in the 1940s, and it does not leave ridging as it is lighter in weight.

This is helpful because it can also be made larger.

However, after the 1980s, these instruments ceased to be as dominant in the agricultural field.

In the United States, it is common to consider disc plows a separate class of implement from discs (disc harrows).

A disc plow is a true plow, which is primarily used for tillage and leaves behind a rough service.

A disc harrow, on the other hand, is a secondary tillage tool.

Today, modern disc harrows are tractor-driven and are either raised by a three-point lift or hydraulically by wheels.

The tandem disk harrow is the most commonly used tillage implement in the Corn Belt.

It will often be followed by a field cultivator for final seedbed preparation.

2. What is discing a field?

Discing a field includes disturbing and exposing the soil.

It helps to establish food strips, create field borders, install fire lines, and simply set back older vegetation and renew succession.

Discing may be used in larger areas where burning may not be feasible or will not provide the desired results.

(Video) DISCING a Field: 5 Things You Should Know

It is often the preferred farm measure to manage residue from the previous crop like soybean or cornstalks.

This method chops and incorporates the crop residue into the soil, which promotes rapid decay of plant material.

When this happens, the soil is ultimately easier to manage as a perfect ratio of agricultural lime and soil is created with reduced acid saturation in the topsoil layer.

3. How do you disc a field?

Discing can be done in strips or plots.

You should make the strips about 30 to 50 feet wide, and they should be laid out on the contour in an alternating pattern.

If you’re dealing with a steeper area (a slope greater than 4 percent), then you should use 50-foot-wide strips with inactive strips in between (also at least 50 feet).

Plots should also be a minimum of 50 feet wide and divided into thirds.

The plot or strip should be disced in one or two passes so that 30 to 40 percent of the vegetation remains.

The discs should run at a shallow depth of 2 to 3 inches.

You should disk 1/3 of your site each year on a rotating basis.

For best results, disk the areas in late winter to early spring.

4. What are the advantages of discing a field?

These are the top five advantages of discing a field.

They all relate to easier soil management.

What is Discing a Field? 11 Things (2022) You Should Know (1)Closing the furrow made after plowing which helps to preserve the soil’s benefits

What is Discing a Field? 11 Things (2022) You Should Know (2)Breaking down large chunks of compacted soil

What is Discing a Field? 11 Things (2022) You Should Know (3)Provoking weed growth and destroying newly emerged ones

What is Discing a Field? 11 Things (2022) You Should Know (4)Cutting, crushing, and mixing soil

What is Discing a Field? 11 Things (2022) You Should Know (5)Entering crop residue into the soil

5. When is discing or tilling not a good idea?

Discing soil provides many benefits, but there are some circumstances when it will negatively affect the soil and disturb its structure.

For instance, if you apply herbicides and other products to crops during the growing season, then they will become part of the crop residue.

When you disc the soil next, these will be incorporated into the soil and wreck its structure.

Furthermore, some people make the mistake of discing soil when it is too wet.

This can lead to a non-uniform incorporation of crop residence, which creates clods that require additional tilling.

Moreover, if layers of compacted soil are left below the depth of discing, they can affect root growth and reduce yields.

Thus, soil moisture must be considered when planning for soil discing.

(Video) What you need to know about Fieldwork in Farming Simulator 22

6. What’s the difference between plowing, discing, and tilling?

As you read about discing a field, you may wonder if there’s really a difference in what you’re doing when discing, plowing, and tilling.

How different are they really?

And how different are the results?

Here’s a quick overview.

What is Discing a Field? 11 Things (2022) You Should Know (6)Plowing a field turns the soil over and buries all the residue.

It can work deeply but often leaves large clods of soil.

What is Discing a Field? 11 Things (2022) You Should Know (7)Tilling a field uses rotating tines to break up the soil and mix in residue.

This usually works to a medium depth and leaves a fine and smooth finish.

What is Discing a Field? 11 Things (2022) You Should Know (8)Discing a field cuts the soil and buries part of the residue.

It also breaks up clods after plowing.

This is done to just work the surface (a depth of up to about 10 inches).

It leaves a semi-smooth surface.

Together, all of these operations are referred to as “tillage.”

7. When is the right time to disc a field?

For optimal results, you should disc your field in late winter to early spring.

While discing a field in the fall will save you time in the spring, the erosion potential from wind and rain will be higher.

If you choose to disc your field in the spring, then the risk of snow entrapment is reduced, and it minimizes erosion during the winter.

Spring discing is well-suited for drainage as well as lighter textured soils.

8. What is fallow discing?

Fallow discing is when you disc an area after the first freeze and before the last freeze of winter.

It gets its name from “fallow” which is an agricultural term for land that has been, but is not currently in crop production.

Fallow land may also be referred to as “laid out” or “idle.”

Fallow discing has long been an accepted management practice that helps improve the availability of naturally occurring food plants for wildlife.

Specifically, the white-tailed deer, bobwhite quail, Rio-Grande turkey, and mourning dove benefit from the practice.

Other seed-eating songbirds and small mammals may also join those targeted wildlife species.

While fallow discing is not a suitable wildlife habitat management practice when used by itself, it can be paired with other practices like rotational grazing systems, proper stocking rate, and adequate deer harvest.

Fallowing discing is also known to be more effective than merely planting food plots.

(Video) Cover Cropping Winter Rye. Barley harvest leads into winter cover crops to produce spring forage.

9. What are the requirements for fallow discing?

For fallow discing, you’ll need the following supplies: 1 plow, fertilizer (optional), no seed, and only one type of farm implement.

10. Where and when should you fallow disc?

Fallow discing should be performed in areas in close proximity to available cover.

These are locations where wildlife can readily escape from predators or other disturbances.

When selecting a site, consider terrain, drainage areas, and location of soils suitable for discing a field.

These include old crop fields or 1 to 5 acres located in the middle of dense woods or brush.

You may also consider cleared fence lines, old well sites, previously cleared sites, and abandoned roads.

Typically, a smaller-sized area (1 to 5 acres) works best.

11. What are some terms I may need to know while discing a field?

If you’re preparing to disc a field, you may need to do some research.

As with most industries, ground tillage comes with a lot of terminology.

In this section, we’ll help you get familiar with some of the language you may not already know.

What is Discing a Field? 11 Things (2022) You Should Know (9)Offset discs: These are also referred to as “bush-and-bog discs.”

These are often the largest discers available.

They have very heavy frames, and their blades are deeply concave, set widely apart, and are of a large diameter.

This large diameter helps to cut heavy fescue; tough, woody plants; and heavier debris found in set-aside fields.

They are also used to break virgin ground.

What is Discing a Field? 11 Things (2022) You Should Know (10)Agricultural discs: These are sometimes called “heavy discs.”

Agricultural discs have small blades with closer blade spacing.

The blades may either be serrated or smooth.

What is Discing a Field? 11 Things (2022) You Should Know (11)Tillers: This is a very popular seedbed preparation tool.

They’re often a top option for a one-step tool for turning fallow fields if they’re covered in light vegetation like grass.

They are smaller and so require less horsepower, but can cause a field to be overly loose or fluffy.

What is Discing a Field? 11 Things (2022) You Should Know (12)Gangs: Disc gangs are mounted end-to-end on finishing discs to make one row of blades all the way across the implement.

Each individual shaft with discs is referred to as a “gang.”

Final thoughts

Learning how to properly care for your soil is an essential part of farm management.

Discing is one element of soil tillage, and this method will enable you to manage weeds recycle nutrients, provide a soft mass for sowing, and allow a suitable surface for seeds.

(Video) Young Farmer Struggles to Grow Hay/ Disking

We hope this information was helpful to you as you learn the process of discing a field.

Additional Resources

If you are looking to buy affordable land, you can check out ourListingspage. And before you buy land, make sure you check out Gokce Land Due Diligence Program. If you are looking to sell land, visit our page on how to Sell Your Land.

Would you like to receive an email with our latest blog/properties every Thursday?

Subscribe Now

I hope you enjoy reading this post. If you are interested in buying or selling land, check out:

Get An Offer For Your Land Buy $1 Down Land Master Land Due Diligence

What is Discing a Field? 11 Things (2022) You Should Know (15)

What is Discing a Field? 11 Things (2022) You Should Know (16)

I hope you enjoy reading this post. Don't forget to check out my new book: Land Investing Mistakes -Erika

Disclaimer: we are not lawyers, accountants or financial advisors and the information in this article is for informational purposes only. This article is based on our own research and experience and we do our best to keep it accurate and up-to-date, but it may contain errors. Please be sure to consult a legal or financial professional before making any investment decisions.

  • Author
  • Recent Posts

Erika

Erika is a former Affordable Housing Director for the City of New York turned full-time Land Investor. She used to help New Yorkers find affordable housing, now she helps people find affordable land around the US.

Prior to starting Gokce Capital, Erika received a Bachelor of Architecture from the University of Southern California and a graduate degree in Urban Policy from Columbia University. She worked as both an architectural designer and engineer in New York before joining the New York City Department of Housing Preservation and Development.

Erika currently lives in the New York Metropolitan area with her spouse, daughter and cat. She is originally from Chicago and still considers herself a midwesterner at heart.

Erika also loves to read, write and travel (fun fact, she has visited all 50 states and more than 30 countries!). Her new book, Land Investing Mistakes: 11 True Stories You Need To Know Before Buying Land, is now available on Amazon.

Latest posts by Erika (see all)

  • Cesspool vs Septic Tank: 13 Things (2022) That You Should Know -
  • Coastal Erosion: 10 Things (2022) You Must Know -
  • What Is Turbidity in Water: 11 Things (2022) You Have to Know -
(Video) Discing and Leveling the Field | Tractor Spotter

FAQs

What does discing a field mean? ›

So here are the top things you need to know about disking a field number one a discaro is an

How fast should you pull a disc harrow? ›

A general rule is 8 to 10 HP per foot to pull a tandem disc harrow at 5 to 6 mph. While the design of some tillage tools allows faster ground speeds, going too fast is an easy way to create ridges and furrows.

What are the important parts of a disk harrow? ›

A disc harrow mainly consists of disc, gang, gang bolt, gang central lever, spool or spacer arbor bolt, bearings, transport wheels, scraper and weight box. Disc: It is a circular concave revolving steel plate used for cutting a inverting the soil (Plate : 14.2).

What speed should you disc a field? ›

In most conditions, the optimal operating speed is approximately 4–6 miles per hour. In sandier soils, discs can be operated up to 8 miles per hour. If you are unsure what the right speed is for your soil conditions, make a few test passes at different speeds and measure the furrow depth.

How deep should you plow a field? ›

Merrill further concluded that "on deep heavy soil, plowing to a depth of 10 inches will insure as good and possibly better results than plowing to a greater depth but that on lighter soils an occasional plowing to a depth of 15 to 18 inches is advisable."

How many acres can a tractor plow in a day? ›

With a tractor pulled plow the average is 15 acres a day.

Do you disc or plow first? ›

After plowing, a field needs to be worked with a cutting disk to break up soil chunks. “Most discs have an adjustment for how aggressively you want them to cut by changing the angle of the gangs,” Kuhn says.

Do you harrow before rolling? ›

Harrowing and rolling tend to go hand-in-hand. Ideally you want to remove the thatch and aerate the soil by harrowing, followed by rolling if you are reseeding the land or want a good finish (for example on a sports field).

What do diamond harrows do? ›

Suitable for open country and lighter loamy soils, Murray Diamond Harrows are an effective implement used for weed control and final seedbed preparation.

Do not clean your disc harrow after use True or false? ›

Cleaning and storing your disc harrow

Make it a habit to clean your disc harrow after each use. Remove dirt and debris that have clung on to the equipment. Prior to storage, give your disc harrow a once over, look for signs of wear and/or damage and make the necessary maintenance/repairs.

When should you chain harrow a field? ›

Harrowing should be done when the conditions are becoming slightly warmer and from March onwards is ideal. The ground will become churned up if you harrow when it's too wet, while you may not be able to harrow effectively if the land is too dry.

What are the two types of harrow? ›

There are four general types of harrows: disc harrows, tine harrows (including spring-tooth harrows, drag harrows, and spike harrows), chain harrows, and chain-disk harrows. Harrows were originally drawn by draft animals, such as horses, mules, or oxen, or in some times and places by manual labourers.

What are the two kinds of harrow? ›

Spring-tooth harrows (developed in the 1860s) have curved, springy teeth designed for use in rough, stony ground and around roots. Knife-tooth harrows, with twisted blades spaced several inches apart, are driven in a rotary motion by a small gasoline motor.

How does harrow work? ›

How to Use a Chain Harrow - YouTube

Do faster discs go further? ›

In this case you may have better accuracy with a higher speed disc that can be thrown with lower power but still maintains its speed. Faster discs are generally more difficult to control than slower discs but have the potential to fly further.

How many times should you disc a field? ›

The plot or strip should be disced in one or two passes so that 30 to 40 percent of the vegetation remains. The discs should run at a shallow depth of 2 to 3 inches. You should disk 1/3 of your site each year on a rotating basis. For best results, disk the areas in late winter to early spring.

Can you throw a disc too fast? ›

If you throw too slowly, you're going to have it fade, if you throw too quickly you'll see it turn. It's not always a bad thing to throw your disc faster than intended. Putters are excellent to throw too fast. These discs will turn over and hold that turn for a long time.

Why do farmers plow at night? ›

Most farmers want to keep ahead of the weather, catch up with the workload, and just get the job done. Harvest, equipment transportation, maintenance, and pesticide application are also made at night because of high temperatures during the day that are equally damaging for humans and crops.

What time do you plow? ›

Soil Texture

The best time to plow is when the soil is moist. Plowing when the soil is soggy is difficult and messy, and it compacts the soil, changing its structure from the aerated, loose planting medium desired. Plowing when the soil is completely dry increases the loss of topsoil to wind.

What are the 3 steps to prepare the field for plowing? ›

It typically involves (1) plowing to "till" or dig-up, mix, and overturn the soil; (2) harrowing to break the soil clods into smaller mass and incorporate plant residue, and (3) leveling the field.

What is the meaning of discing? ›

Definition. Disking for wildlife is the process of disturbing soil and existing vegetation in an area by using a disk.

Is it discing or disking a field? ›

DISCING a Field: 5 Things You Should Know - YouTube

What does harrowing a field do? ›

Harrowing removes dead thatch lifts vegetation up and levels any mole hills. Its job is to allow air movement and root aeration which helps the soil to breathe and improves water infiltration. It reduces disease by exposing fungi and bacteria to sunlight which is essential for the health of the pasture.

How do you furrow a field? ›

Furrow Field - YouTube

How much does it cost to disc an acre? ›

Disk/Chisel —————- $19.70 per acre. V-Ripper (deep tillage) — $23.45 per acre. Field Cultivator ———— $16.00 per acre. Tandem Disk ————— $15.40 per acre.

What to do after plowing a field? ›

What happens after plowing - YouTube

Can you disc wet ground? ›

Don't till wet soils to dry them out. Tilling or driving on wet soils causes compaction. Depending on how fast the rain came and how little residue was on the soil surface, a crust may have formed and some may want to till the field to break up the crust.

Is discing bad for soil? ›

A common problem is disking when soils are too wet. Disking wet soils results in non-uniform incorporation, creates clods that require additional tillage operations, and leaves a compacted soil layer below the depth of disking that can restrict root growth and reduce yields, especially in dry years.

Do you disc or plow first? ›

After plowing, a field needs to be worked with a cutting disk to break up soil chunks. “Most discs have an adjustment for how aggressively you want them to cut by changing the angle of the gangs,” Kuhn says.

How many times should I disc a field? ›

The plot or strip should be disced in one or two passes so that 30 to 40 percent of the vegetation remains. The discs should run at a shallow depth of 2 to 3 inches. You should disk 1/3 of your site each year on a rotating basis. For best results, disk the areas in late winter to early spring.

How often should you drag your pasture? ›

Dragging paddocks two to three times a year helps break up manure piles and kill parasites. Often, horses pick an area to defecate in and not graze. Dividing the pasture into smaller paddocks can help solve this problem.

What time of year should you chain harrow? ›

Harrowing should be done when the conditions are becoming slightly warmer and from March onwards is ideal. The ground will become churned up if you harrow when it's too wet, while you may not be able to harrow effectively if the land is too dry.

Do you harrow before rolling? ›

Harrowing and rolling tend to go hand-in-hand. Ideally you want to remove the thatch and aerate the soil by harrowing, followed by rolling if you are reseeding the land or want a good finish (for example on a sports field).

What time do you plow? ›

Soil Texture

The best time to plow is when the soil is moist. Plowing when the soil is soggy is difficult and messy, and it compacts the soil, changing its structure from the aerated, loose planting medium desired. Plowing when the soil is completely dry increases the loss of topsoil to wind.

How deep should a furrow be? ›

After selecting a location, use garden stakes and twine to mark long straight lines. Then, dig a trench along the length of the string that is roughly 2 inches (5 cm). deep. When planning the garden, be sure to account for appropriate spacing between each of the furrows depending upon what crops will be grown.

Videos

1. Using a Disc Harrow (Discing a field)
(J&J Acres)
2. Fieldwork 2022 - Switching from Plowing to Disking
(PA Grain Farmer)
3. FIGHTING A FIELD FIRE
(George Saunders)
4. IS THIS REALLY BETTER THAN A TILLER? A DISC THAT’S MADE IN THE USA!
(Good Works Tractors)
5. Discing with the Massey Ferguson 1840E
(Froghair Farm)
6. FOUR DRAFT HORSES DISKING A FIELD // Hitching up Four Horses
(Working Horses With Jim)

Top Articles

You might also like

Latest Posts

Article information

Author: Edmund Hettinger DC

Last Updated: 11/15/2022

Views: 5541

Rating: 4.8 / 5 (78 voted)

Reviews: 93% of readers found this page helpful

Author information

Name: Edmund Hettinger DC

Birthday: 1994-08-17

Address: 2033 Gerhold Pine, Port Jocelyn, VA 12101-5654

Phone: +8524399971620

Job: Central Manufacturing Supervisor

Hobby: Jogging, Metalworking, Tai chi, Shopping, Puzzles, Rock climbing, Crocheting

Introduction: My name is Edmund Hettinger DC, I am a adventurous, colorful, gifted, determined, precious, open, colorful person who loves writing and wants to share my knowledge and understanding with you.