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Trying out a no-till system using a draft animal, where are the implements?

 
Scott Fike
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       I have been considering trying out a no-till row-crop growing system using draft animal power such as with a donkey, mule, horse or even an oxen. However, there doesn’t seem to be any ready-made special-purpose equipment that’s specifically intended for such a modest endeavor here in the U.S. To do this system seems to require just two simple implements: 1) a roller-crimper (also called a knife-roller) and 2) a no-till planter or seed drill designed to function in a no-till system.  The only simple, compact and lightweight one-animal drawn seed planters only seem to be available in Africa, South Africa or Brasil. On the other hand, there doesn’t seem to be any roller-crimpers available at all for animal-drawn use, just tractors.

Thank you
 
Andy Moffatt
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Location: New Zealand
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I use a direct drill for no till it weighs at least 6000kg and uses hydraulic pressure and its mass to keep the points in the ground even if it's rock hard, you can't do that with oxen. What sort of scale are you thinking? Also think about harvesting crops, draft animals can't tow mowers or harvester's without their own motor onboard anyway.
 
Daniel Bowman
Posts: 74
Location: Sandy Mush, NC
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You could fabricate a crimper/roller out of water-filled steel drums or get the version made for the BCS two-wheeled tractors and modify it. You could pull either of these versions with a donkey or you could likely pull a compact tractor variety with some mules or pair of oxen without too much difficulty. But the seed drill is modern tech and so is the trendiness of "no-till". The only option would be the ATV-ready box that powers the drill mechanism with a 12V battery. They are expensive ($6k), you would have to modify it somewhat to harness and it would ultimately look a little silly attached to a draft animal, but hey that's what you want, that's how ya get it.
 
Peter Ellis
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Location: Central New Jersey
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Living Web Farms has a number of valuable videos for the small scale farmer, homesteader, even home gardener. This workshop focused on no-till methods for small scale farms.  It includes a demonstration of a small no till seeder running behind  walk behind tractor, but there is discussion of their having done a version they run behind a donkey.  This is a made in America product, intended for third world use, primarily, but perfectly well suited to small scale farming here. 

side note, when you watch the video, ignore Patrick's scythe technique - it's terrible
 
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