A tractor is arguably the most important machine on a small farm. It is also one of the larger purchases (land aside). We wanted something that would be reliable and trouble free. After considerable research of Kubota and John Deere, we ran into BCS tractors. These Italian tractors are top sellers throughout Europe. We have yet to hear anything negative from heavy users of this tractor in Canada and the US.
There is a large No Till movement going on worldwide. Simplistically the concept can be understood by thinking of a field as a forest floor. As leaves, branches, and other natural debris find their way to the ground, it feeds a natural decomposition process. The result is ground layers of rich undisturbed microbes and nutrients. Tilling is viewed as a wrecking ball that destroys the soil.
While we are enthusiastic supporters of the No Till movement, preparing a 1 or 2 acre field for planting by hand is a daunting task. BCS offers a strong middle of the road solution. We are going to use the tractor with three attachments to prepare our fields.
Our fields are currently chest high Fireweed. The flail attachment is perfect to mow the fields and mulch the Fireweed into small pieces that can be raked up for the compost pile
The rotary plow will dig down and push the soil and rocks out to the right of the tractor. The rocks have to be picked up by hand. Doing a pass down the field and then turning around and coming back will create a raised bed. We are going to create 30″ raised beds separated by 16″ walkways. The 30″ bed is a deliberate measurement based on the next attachment.
Precision Depth Roller
Prior to mowing the fields, we will have the soil tested. Based on those results, we will be adding amendments to the soil along with fertilizer at this point. After the mix is spread over the top of the raised beds, we will walk the beds with the precision depth roller. This popular attachment combines the groundbreaking abilities of a tiller and the vegetation-chopping of a power harrow. The beauty of this attachment from a No Till perspective, is that it can be configured to only work the top 1 or 3 inches of the soil. Tillers will typically disrupt soil down to 8 inches or more.
The BCS tractor and several attachments will put you in the expense area of a Kubota subcompact tractor. For us to get the configuration described above, it will cost approximately $13K. It’s contribution to efficient production much less body stress will be well worth it.