The planting window can slam shut in a hurry on the Missouri River bottom ground around Norborne, Mo. And when you have 8,000 acres in five counties to get across, time is a mighty precious commodity.
Spring is ”go time” for Travis Matthews and his brother, Hoss, and while they sometimes feel like they meet themselves coming and going, they have found a tool that maximizes precious planting time on their corn and soybean operation.
“The Kelly speeds up planting for us by a good three days and that makes a huge difference,” Travis explains. “It enables us to get
on ground that’s still a little wet without turning up clods or compacting the soil. The Kelly just works that top inch or two, giving it a chance to dry enough so we can get in there and plant. And, we can get over a lot of ground in a hurry.
“It saves us a lot of time and that’s one thing that always seems to be in short supply when you’re trying to get a crop in.”
While the Kelly Diamond Disc Chain Harrow is a dramatic time saver, the Matthews brothers rely on the surface tillage tool to enhance yield potential and not to cut corners. “Getting a field planted on time can mean a lot when harvest rolls around but it wouldn’t mean much without a good seedbed. The Kelly gives us the perfect seedbed and that’s where good yields start. It really is the perfect seedbed tool.”
The Kelly Diamond Harrow’s offset flexible disc gangs are drawn across the ground at an angle with even down-pressure across the entire unit. Working at a depth of one to two inches, the Kelly levels the ground, opens the soil surface for drying and leaves evenly dispersed residue on top.
The Matthews brothers use their Kelly fall and spring. Corn stalks are harrowed down with the Kelly in the fall to expedite residue breakdown and then the field is v-ripped to loosen the ground. After an anhydrous application in the spring, the ground is Kelly’d once more to achieve a high-quality seed environment that delivers consistent seed placement and even germination.
“The true advantage is in the spring on heavy dirt,” Travis says. “That’s where the Kelly really shines. There’s no way you could use a field cultivator on a lot of the wet ground where we use the Kelly — you’d have nothing but clods and mud balls. We’ve pretty much quit using a field cultivator altogether. The Kelly is faster and more economical to pull. It does a better job and we run it over every acre.”
Rolling across fields at 8.5 mph, the Matthews’ 45-ft. Kelly Diamond Harrow covers a lot of acres and, with three years of using the tool, Travis says maintenance has been minimal and the fuel savings compared to a field cultivator is significant.
Travis also relies on the leveling capability of the Kelly Diamond Harrow. The v-ripper they use on stalks leaves the ground rough and uneven. The Kelly solves that problem in a single pass as well as taking care of field ruts leftover when they’re forced to harvest in wet conditions.
With a lot of country to cover and a lot of miles in between some fields, the Matthews also appreciate the hydraulically folding Kelly’s ease of transport. “We can pull it down the highway with a ¾ ton pickup — that’s a real advantage for us,” Travis notes.
The Matthews brothers took over the family farm while they were still in high school after an accident took their father. That was in 1993 and they have continuously looked for ways to better capture the productive potential of more acres.
“When I first saw the Kelly run I knew it could be a real asset to our operation,” Travis says. “I just fell in love with it.”
For more information on the Kelly Diamond Harrow, including videos of the Kelly in action, check out the Kelly website at www.usa.kellytillage.com or contact Hood & Company, Inc., in Springfield, MO., 417-865-2100, e-mail: [email protected].