RURAL MARSHALL - Local farmers gathered on a field by Minnesota Highway 19 west of Marshall on Wednesday afternoon to watch a demonstration of a Danish clod-buster.
Lars Johansson, owner of Johansson's Sales and Service, was showing how the He-Va disc roller can break up the head-sized clods that have carpeted the fields in southwest Minnesota this year.
Because of a mild, dry winter the fields are full of big, hard dirt clods. In wetter, colder winters water in the soil freezes, expands and breaks up big clods and chunks of soil, making it easier to till in the spring.
Photo by Steve Browne
Lars Johansson brought out this disc roller imported from Denmark to demonstrate to local farmers how it breaks up big dirt clods and packs the soil into a good seed bed.
This year farmers have to break up the clods mechanically, and Johansson thinks this piece of equipment is just what's needed.
"People have been using packers," Johansson said, "but some clods just pack into the ground and some just break in two. We're using the disc roller to grind them up, so the seeds can germinate. If we don't, easily 25 to 30 percent of the seeds won't germinate at the same time."
The disc roller has discs in front that rotate independently, rather than altogether, Johansson explained. Behind the discs is the self-cleaning roller which packs the broken-up soil into a smooth seed bed, and packs last year's cornstalks into the soil so they don't blow across the fields and roads.
Johansson called his friend Scott Baune to drive the tractor and demonstrate the disc roller on Steve Schuler's field.
"Basically we're showing how the lumps can be broken up to make a nice seed bed," Baune said.
Johansson has a fold-up and pull type disc roller at his dealership. The disc rollers are imported by the Walco dealership in Randolph.
Schuler said he didn't know if he was going to buy one, but said, "It looks like it's doing a very nice job of busting these lumps up, and making a good seed bed."