If you have tight spaces and/or a small field, a 2 bottom plow is a great choice for turning topsoil, bringing subsoil to the top and consequently burying weeds and previous crops, thereby speeding decomposition.
However, a 2 bottom plow can’t run on its own, but you need the right size tractor to pull the plow.
If you’re wondering what size tractor for a 2 bottom plough, the short answer is a tractor that puts out 45 HP or less but you can also use larger tractors if you control the speed and the power.
What is a 2 Bottom Plow?
A two bottom plow is fitted with two moldboards or discs and designed to pull two furrows at a time. It is a great choice for small fields and tight spaces and typically comes with an adjustable frame for narrower cuts if required.
Adding to this, two bottom plows are light and easily maneuverable, making them a great choice for wet or boggy ground, and spaces where large equipment may struggle.
In terms of numbers, a two bottom plow weighs roughly under 500 lbs, which is considerably less than a 3 bottom plow and 4 bottom plow.
A two bottom plow isn’t the same as a turning plow, because the former breaks up soil at a significant depth, and turns the soil and buries any existing weeds and grasses.
A turning plow contrarily is designed for hillsides, and is equipped with a hinge to reverse the direction the soil is thrown.
What Size Tractor for Pulling a 2 Bottom Plow?
You can pull a 2 bottom plow with a 25 HP tractor. This works out to approximately 15 HP per bottom depending on the soil condition.
With regards to measurements, a 16” tractor should be able to pull a 2 bottom plow through hard clay soil.
Some avid gardeners and farmers claim a minimum 50 HP plow is needed to pull a 2 bottom plow especially if you’re trying to plow 12 inches deep or more.
As mentioned earlier, the size of tractor you need to pull a 2-bottom plow greatly depends on your soil type and level of compaction.
How Wide is a 2 Bottom Plow?
Most 2 bottom plows measure around 16 inches in width. You can size a plow by measuring the distance from the heel of the landslide to the wing of the share.
For example, a properly mounted 16 inch plow cuts a 16 inch furrow and three 16 inch bottoms on the same frame will plow a 48 inch width.
In the olden days, the size of a plow was calculated by the width times the number of bottoms.
How Much Can a 25 HP Tractor Pull?
The answer is a bit tricky because different size tractors with the same horsepower rating can vary by several thousand pounds in weight.
And the rule of thumb is that the pulled loads should not exceed 1.5 times the weight of the tractor.
Take for example the John Deere 1025R that weighs 2095 lbs and the John Deere 3025D that weighs approximately 3400 lbs, so the 1025R can tow roughly 3100 lbs and the 3025D can tow nearly 5200 lbs.
25 HP is in fact the industry standard for a powerful tractor but it is recommended that you choose a model that’s slightly powerful if you think you only need a 25 HP machine.
How Much Horsepower Do You Need to Plow?
When it comes to tractors, more isn’t always better but can be a serious waste of cash. For example, I said earlier that you should buy a slightly more powerful tractor than the one you need, but there’s no need to splurge on a much higher HP model.
One of the biggest reasons for buying a slightly more powerful tractor is that your needs can change once you discover how easy it is to complete several outdoor tasks with a tractor.
If you buy a tractor at the bottom of the range, you won’t be able to perform any heavy-duty tasks because you’ve purchased a low HP tractor to begin with.
The answer to how much horsepower do you need to plow depends on the weight of the plow and the condition of the soil.
For example, if you’re pulling an 8 foot BOSS box plow, you’ll need a tractor that churns out at least 45 HP.
Larger plows such as the LDR 16-foot box require a tractor with a minimum of 175 HP.
How Do I Know What Size Plow to Buy?
There are several factors to consider when shopping for the best plow for your needs including:
- Shallow plowing (20-30 cm (8-12 in)
- Very shallow plowing 10-20 cm (4-8 in)
- Pre-sowing plowing 30- 40 cm (12-16 in)
- Undermining more than 40 cm (16 in)
Furthermore, there are few different types of plows according to the type of soil such as:
- Moldboard plow – wing shaped plow that features a large curved bottom attached to the frame
- Ridge plow – features double wings that raise the soil into a furrow
- Switch plow – features a rectangular shaped plow body and works well for plowing of light and medium soils
- Chisel plow – good for deeper tillage for aerating and loosening soil
The type of plow you choose will largely depend on your demands including soil and specific crop production.
How Deep Will a Bottom Plow Go?
Deep plowing is plowing to a depth greater than 20 inches whereas ordinary plowing rarely exceeds 8 inches.
There are three different plows to choose from —single furrow plow, double furrow plow and multiple furrow plow.
To recap, a 25 HP tractor is good enough to pull a 2 bottom plow. Of course, it’s recommended that you step it a couple notches and a slightly higher horsepower tractor to tackle more heavy-duty tasks.
There are plenty of different types of plows available but the one that’s right for you will depend on your needs and the type of soil you’re working with.
I’m Bryan Livingstone, a farmer with 21 years of experience, and I founded FarmingHandbook.com to share the wisdom I’ve gathered. Inspired by my own handbook, this site is your ultimate guide to all things farming. Read More!