Spring Tillage and Deep Ripping
For the farmers that have to do tillage work, especially when the ground is hard, an under powered tractor is the last problem anyone wants. Although annual tillage can help mix nutrients in the soil, combat compacted soil, conserve soil moisture, and help in other ways, it can also cost a lot of time and fuel to complete the job.
Bogging down, running slow, struggling to climb hills, and other complaints are often made during tillage work. Which is why it is important to understand how much power you need to complete the task. Of course there are many factors when figuring out a horse power formula for sizing a ripper or chisel plow. Variables such as, target ground speed, desired depth, the type of shank and especially shank spacing will make a difference.
Many people will go to chat rooms and forums, which can be useful places, to discuss the topic of "how much power do I need?" Sifting through these post will reveal a few things. Each experience with the equipment being used, field conditions, tractor and operator is unique. Most of the "formulas" are based on HP/per shank. There is no perfect formula for how much power you need. Internet conversations about tractors cannot replace your personal experience. Personal experience is what you ultimately need to determine how much power you need. Checking with you manufacturer of the equipment being used is a good place to start though.
For example the Great Plains ULTRA-CHISEL is a 21'-45' heavy duty chisel plow. The manufacturer, Great Plains, provides a Required PTO HP for each option of the chisel plow setup. The 45' model with 9" Shank Spacing with 3 sections requires 325-450 HP. However, the exact same power rating is given for the 12" spacing, 3 section model as well. In fact, the exact same power ratings are given for both the 9" and 12" spacing models with 3 sections. Apparently the HP requirement is not on a per shank basis.
This may not seem like that big of a deal. Unless the cost of horsepower is considered. There is a big difference between the cost of a 325 HP tractor and a 450 HP tractor. In fact, after doing a little research it is easy to find tractor manufacturers charging $600 - $1,000 PER HORSE POWER. That comes to a staggering $75,000 - $125,000 difference in the cost of a tractor used to pull this chisel plow.
Before throwing that type of coin around, many farmers that need the extra grunt out of their current tractor simply get custom tuning. This can allow a farmer to safely increase the PTO horsepower for a fraction of the cost. A small fraction for that matter. If you are wondering how much power can your tractor add and still be safe, please click on the link below and submit your information. You will be contacted by phone within 1 business day (Monday through Friday) to discuss your options.