Tandem Discs – Nathan Slobodian

From the use of using a set of tandem disc, farmer can effectively control weeds in low-lying areas that are often unable to seed or spray through at the start of the season.  These areas often become infested with weeds, that if left can produce seed and spread throughout the field.  Farmers are able to work these areas late enough in the year that the water is no longer there but before the weeds set seed.  Also, tandem discs are used in eliminating weeds and preparing a seeding-bed before planting.  The discs are very good at cutting and ripping up plants that have thick roots that are deeper in the ground.

Tandem discs often cut deep into the ground and require higher horsepower tractors.  Also, if the ground is too wet or dry the discs become ineffective.  This is because under very dry soil conditions, the ground becomes very wet causing the discs to not cut as well.  In addition, it will dry out the soil causing moisture issues at times of seeding.  If used in overly wet conditions, the discs often become packed with mud, which can cause them to not cut into the soil or destroying plants.   When using discs producers must be sure that the soil conditions aren’t too wet or too dry.

There are a number of economical costs associated with using discs.  Producers must have large tractors, which are costly, as well a set of disc which have a wide range of prices.  Also, the rising cost of fuel is a concern.  Ecologically, over discing can cause the soil to dry out, as well as turn the soil profile around bringing different weed seeds that were once buried to the surface.

On our farm we do use tandem discs to work low weed filled areas.  Also, we use disc to work the headlands along roads because of the increase weed pressure that the ditches cause.  I personally believe that tandem discs are a good addition to the many ways of fighting weeds without the use of pesticides.