Plow and Tractor for Desert Grassland Keyline Subsoiling

What plow and tractor combination is most cost effective for restoring desert grassland with Keyline water practices?

We call our method of desert grassland restoration Drought Busters. It combines: (1) subsoil plowing, (2) water harvesting from eroding gullies and roadbeds, (3) animal impact from holistic planned grazing of cattle, and (4) animal impact from a large, diverse wild animal population.

This video discuss equipment for Keyline subsoil plowing. Over 30 American companies make plows that can be used for Keyline contour subsoiling.

Using different kinds and combinations of equipment, in the last nine years we have treated thousands of acres under Keyline principles. Experience has taught us that “less is more.” Small plows and tractors, like the combination in this video, can achieve the desired result at the lowest cost per acre.


Plow & Tractor for Keyline Subsoiling of Desert Grasslands from Christopher Gill on Vimeo.

NOTE: this post was originally published on April 17, 2017, and again on September 2, 2021.

Ranching, wildlife management, finance, oil & gas, real estate development and management.
  • Thank you for the video of equipment used (which I’d read about but not seen).
    I live in what used to be high desert grassland, but much of this area is broken up into 2 acre to 50 acre ‘plots’ because of housing. So my interest, and all personal experiments that have followed, have been based on answering the question: How do I improve soil life/quality/depth on my small acreage? I have had to start by the square yard in my improvements. 5 years ago I used a tree spade — 14″ long, pointed end, very narrow, and opened the soil in a miniature version of what your tractor equipment does. The 1st two years: high number
    of non-desirable weeds. This year, with a pretty good monsoon season, the gramma grasses & 2 other native grasses have takeover this teeny-tiny spot (20′ -20′). I don’t yet know about soil depth, but soil quality has improved, even though, alas, no grazing My hope is that over time, as grasslands big and tiny begin to improve —- showing us their true beauty, all of us folks living on the edges of cities/towns will become enthusiastic about dirt, grasses, legumes & forbes. I do know that during the monsoon downpours on my tiny place, water soaked in – did not carry the soil away – and for the first time in 10 years the native grasses on my 8.5 acres are lush, healthy, and TALL – easily 2-3 inches taller than on neighbors’ acreages. I’ve not much hope for the future of grasslands on the edges of towns, but then again, hope is a good thing, and I will continue my teeny-tiny experiments with the hope that neighbors might also do the same. Thanks again for all you do to share actionable information to all.

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