By: Andrew Smith - ATV Illustrated
When we are not out on the trails with our ATV's, we can often be found using them for other 'house-hold chores', even if that chore is plowing snow, working up the garden, a food plot or anything else. We know that, by all means, the correct tool for doing a large amount of soil tilling work is a tractor, but when doing so on a limited basis and a limited budget, using our ATV is the perfect solution. By simply latching on, our ATV becomes like a mini-tractor and we can toss the visor off our helmet and proudly affix a straw hat to the top of our helmet and work away.
When we got a chance to meet the guys from King Kutter over the winter, we had a chance to check out a couple of the many products that they produce for ATV's that compliment their vast line-up of products for the agricultural world. King Kutter's lineup ranges from different versions of discs, to kultipackers to spreaders, wagons and more. That sit-down conversation turned into the start of an evaluation of their newest ATV disc and kultipacker. The disc that we are testing is a new, 48" version of their original 33" model. Both models utilize 2 rows of coulters on opposing angles and can be raised and lowered via a simple hand crank jack. When in the raised position, the disc is easily transported behind your ATV or maneuvered around your shop on its wheels. When lowered, the wheels will act like a depth guage for how deep you want to till. The disc coulters are scalloped to allow easier penetration into the soil without requiring excessive amounts of weight. Attaching the disc to the ATV is simple and is done via mounting to a 1 7/8" ball using a standard trailer style coupler. The main framework of the disc is made of heavy-duty steel square tubing while the coulter assemblies are bolted onto the frame. One nice item on this unit is that the square, tubular design is also designed to act as a 2" receiver mount so that you can hook up a spreader or kultipacker behind the disc to use at the same time or just to transport multiple items at one time. The hitch of the disc is designed with a turnbuckle for adjustment which allows you to adjust how much down pressure that you will get on the front set of discs vs. the rear set of discs and also to accomodate the infinite amount of different hitch heights out there. Greaseable bearings round out the solid design of this unit and craftmanship of the overall package is top shelf.
The kultipacker is a very simple, functional tool. The purpose is to act like a roller and make soil come in contact with the seed which will in turn, aid in germination which will get the growth of the seed going. King Kutter's kultipacker is designed as a 'flip-over' unit so that you can have it in 'travel-mode' and pull it behind your AT\/ on 2 tires and when you get to your destination, you can flip it over and be ready to pack the ground. In order to flip the unit over, you will
need to pull one pin to flip the tongue orientation and then you can roll the unit over and reattach it to your quad. Much like the disc, the kultipacker uses a 1 7/8" ball and trailer-style coupler to connect to your ATV. The actual kultlpacking wheels are a solid steel design that have protrusions (serrated) that allow for seeds to be pressed into the soil deeper and offer better soil packing qualities. All wheels are individual units and mount to a solid axle that is greaseable at each end. The travel wheels are your standard pneumatic tires that offer a smooth ride when transporting the unit to the final location.
Once we got both units all greased up and ready to go, it was time to head out to the fields and woods to get testing. Our effort was to try to test this unit in as many different conditions and soils as possible to get a good review for you. After turning up more acres of soil than most people will turn in the time they own one of these units, here is what we came up with:
Raising and lowering the disc is a breeze and the jack works both smooth and effortlessly. We did find that if you kept cranking up the wheels that eventually, the tire would come into contact with the disc, but this was at a height well above the depth that you should be trying to disc at. One thing that we did not like really had no effect on the functionality of the disc, it was that one rim is offset the opposite of the other. This was done so that tire would miss one of the disc coulters, but just seemed odd because they could just as easily moved the mounting location of the wheel in slightly to accomplish the save effect. Flipping the disc over to get it into 'use position' is just as simple. Because most of the trailer receivers that we have around the office have a 2" ball on them, it would have been more convenient to have the disc and kultipacker in that size, but that's just because of what we have around. The receiver mount in the back of the disc is great for transporting multiple units at once, but we did have to remove a burr out of the tube before use so that we could get the receiver to slide in.
In doing research before testing, we found that many people say that they add weight to their discs in order to get them to work better, but what we found was that the disc actually works as well without weight as it does with weight with the exception of when you are trying to cut thru living sod. A live sod base is the toughest thing for any disc to cut thru, even on farm tractors, we found that if you kill off the plants before—hand, it cuts thru the soil and works much better. From sand to clay and everything in between, the disc worked great. It may take a few passes to get things broken up, but the end product is a nicely tilled soil. One of the greatest benefits is that you can access many places with this disc on your ATV that you could never get to with a tractor, not to mention you get to spend more time on your ATV! The worst that we ran into over the length of the test period is that we bent over a few of the teeth on the disc when hitting rocks. Make sure to clear the area before tilling to avoid this, and if you do, they can be bent back into place easily. After testing, I would like to see the coulter angle be made so that it is adjustable or at least made slightly greater to help turn over the soil better. The draw-back to this would be that it would require more horsepower from your ATV to use which would cut out some of the smaller ATV‘s from being able to use this disc. I believe that the current angle is a good compromise though that works well and doesn't require an obscene amount of horsepower to use. Outside of that, you'll need to go thru and re-tighten all of the nuts and bolts after the first use, much like your ATV after the initial break-in period and you'll need to make sure to keep an eye on your ATV‘s air filter and oil after use because you'll be stirring up quite a bit of dust in the process of working the soil.
After extensive testing, we came away elated with how well the disc and kultipacker both worked and how well they stood up to the durability testing. If cared for and stored inside, these implements will easily out—last your ATV and are great products for when you want to put your ATV to work!