How to Use a Tractor With a Single-Bottom Plow

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A single-bottom plow is the right piece of equipment for ditches and diversions.
A single-bottom plow is the right piece of equipment for ditches and diversions. (Image: labour 07 image by thierry planche from Fotolia.com)

Using a tractor with a single-bottom plow requires you to adjust three components of the tractor in order to place the single bottom in proper plowing position. You have to make certain that the plowing sheer is level when the plow is at the proper depth in the ground. You also have to ensure that the lift arms are level or tilted down. The last adjustment you will make is the depth your ditch or diversion requires.

Adjust the top link by hand so that the plow sheer runs level when it is at the proper depth in the ground. To manage this, the plow sheer must be tilted slightly down when it is sitting on the surface of the ground. If you place the sheer at level while it is on the surface, it will simply drag behind you and not dig into the ground. If you have the sheer at too great an angle, once the plow digs into the ground, it will jump and lurch. The key is to have the plow sheer at level when the plow is at the desired depth.

A level sheer at depth will prevent rolls and ridges in your trench.
A level sheer at depth will prevent rolls and ridges in your trench. (Image: labour 10 image by thierry planche from Fotolia.com)

Adjust the side link so that when the plow is at depth, the lift arms are level or tilted slightly down. If the lift arms are angled up, they will pull the plow out of the ground and you will have valleys and crests in your trench.

Angle your lift arms down for an even trench.
Angle your lift arms down for an even trench. (Image: old tractor image by Edsweb from Fotolia.com)

Find an appropriate test area before you begin trenching. Drop the plow to level as you pull it behind your tractor. Look at the plow sheer and lift arms and check the consistency of your trench. If you are not happy with the trench, make further adjustments to the lift arms and the sheer angle. If you are satisfied with the position of your plow, you are ready to begin trenching.

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