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.
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.
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.
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
Kasco make a no till drill for an ATV i.e. just pull behind...that might work/be adaptable....not cheap....I've been considering buying one....problem is I need to import it, no local parts/support etc
Failing that, I'm not aware of any other no-till lightweight planters....and I must google them at least 5 times a week.....I want one I can hook onto a track loader.....equally difficult to find....there is only one that I know of....tractors are the jack of all trades, master of none, annoys me
Sorry I forgot about one other, that might be perfect. I've been trying to get a price for the single row machine Cross Slot sell, but the local guy mainly deals in planters worth $1-2m plus, so a piss any little thing like this gets zero attention. Could be just what you need:
Here in my county in Maine they are available to borrow. One belongs to the Soil and Water Conservation District, and the other is from the Grass Farmers Network. Neither requires money, with the exception of the Grass Farmers Network, in that they require the user to be a member of their group; $35 a year.
But they are PTO driven, so a person would have to have a motivator to use them with a draft animal. Pioneer Equipment has them of various sizes. A good investment if you are going to have draft animals anyway as it opens up a lot of opportunities for you.
Pioneer Equipment for sure.
But also we got the I&J ground drive forecast and three point hitch attachments.
Most small tractor implements can be used with it.
There are several good YouTube videos on them.
(Our videos only show us using them, not the close up inspection at this point.
Look up Funky Acres Farm I will be adding more as soon as my computer is fixed. )
But you need a team of animals.
And I’m not positive if oxen would be fast enough.
The American Milking Devon are the fastest walking cattle from the research I have done.
But have been told that they are not for beginners.
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