We finally got to use our new plow! We purchased the newer, updated version of the Homesteader in the spring of 2018, but they had taken the plow off the market for a redesign. After a trial run through 2018, The first two updated plows were produced in November, and we got one. I finally got to use it today.
As would be expected with any multi-purpose tool, it has some minor flaws. I am only mentioning them, as I have seen the discussion come up a few times, and no one seems to have the answer. Overall, though I absolutely loved it! So, in case anyone was wondering, below are my thoughts....
1. When the plow is disengaged, it bumps along on the bottom of the seat. No biggie though. It rides about 2 inches off the ground, which worried me at first, but never gave me a problem. I drove it up my gravel driveway, and across my pasture to the garden area without issue. It just clears.
2. I have driven several sulky plows, and never felt comfortable with them. They seemed very unstable, and if anything went wrong, the rider can pop right up out of the seat. That is not a problem on the Homesteader! It is totally stable, can turn either direction, has foot rests that won’t tangle your feet in any way, and it doesn’t feel like you’ll bounce out of the seat or flip with every bump. That being said, it does work a bit opposite a sulky. A sulky is often foot controlled, while the Homesteader is a hand lever. A sulky seat position levels out in the furrow, while the Homesteader is level on flat ground and Unlevel in the furrow.
3. The biggest issue I had is due to the centered tongue. Unlike a sulky, which has an offset pole, the Homesteader is centered. The plow is centered on the pole. Thus, in order to plow much ground, you have to ensure the lead-side horse keeps a nice space between it and the right side furrow horse. If she drifts toward the furrow, the plow will drift into the furrow. All in all, really not a big deal. It just took some getting used to.
4. The right side wheel of the Homesteader has to be adjusted to its narrowest setting on the axle in order to get it to drop down into the furrow. The left wheel can be on any setting.
5. Like a sulky, The plow has to be dropped as the horses start up. It cannot be forced into the ground, but will suck itself right in with no problem as long as horses are moving. At the end of the row, simply have the horses take a step or two back, and the plow can be easily lifted out of the ground. Backing is something you shouldn’t do in a sulky, but is no problem with the Homesteader.
Today, I used my team of 15.2 and 16 hand mares to plow clay ground. The plow is a 12 inch Kverneland. The ground had only been lightly plowed (with a sulky) and disced one other time, last spring, as this is a newer garden. We did not have time to remove the paint, so I was curious how well it would pull with paint on. It wasn’t a problem. Pioneer has asked us to bring the Homesteader and all attachments to Horse Progress Days this summer, so hopefully we’ll be there to show it in action. Below is a link to a quick video of the plow in action, if anyone is interested. Hope that helps!