How to adjust and operate the VT17 Series vertical tillage tools

If you’re interested in vertical tillage, then take a look at the VT17 Series (US CA) vertical tillage equipment.

For purposes of demonstration, we used the VT1712 in this video, but all 4 models in the VT17 Series adjust and operate the same way. We also used a John Deere 6120E Utility Tractor (US CA). It delivers 120 engine horsepower (89.5 kW) and includes the standard 12F/12R PowrReverser transmission.

We’ve also added 1400 pounds (635 kg) of weight to the front of our tractor and 240 pounds (109 kg) to each rear wheel. That’s so we have sufficient weight on the tractor to help prevent tire slippage.

Step #1 – Adjust the gang angle.

First, lift the unit onto the transport wheels, then secure it with the transport lockout bracket. Then, use the gang adjustment wrench that’s stored on the unit’s drawbar to adjust the gang angle from 0 to 12 degrees in 3-degree increments. Once the desired gang angle is set, replace the gang adjusting bar over the slide plate and use the hair pin clips to secure it.

Once you’re in the field, set the unit’s working depth with a simple pin and clip system. Working depth can vary from 1 – 3 inches (2.54 – 7.63 cm).

Next, make sure the vertical tillage tool is level front to back by using a simple crank mechanism. Turn the crank clockwise to lower the rear of the tool. Turn it counter clockwise to raise the rear of the tool. You should wait to adjust levelness until after the unit’s working depth has been set in the field.

Once you’ve set the gang angles, set the depth control, and leveled the unit front to rear, you’re ready to begin operation. Remember, it’s very important to have the transport wheels in con­tact with the ground and have some pressure on them during operation. Otherwise, the depth setting you’ve chosen won’t matter. The unit will simply till as deeply as it can.

Operating tips.

The VT17 Series vertical tillage tools are designed for operating speeds between 6 and 10 miles per hour (9.7 – 16 km/h). Ideally, you should vertical till at a slight angle to the direction of the crop rows to do the best job of sizing the crop residue.

After you’ve made a couple passes, check to see if the down pressure on the rear-mounted rolling basket should be adjusted. If the residue is not flowing easily through the rolling basket, the down pressure needs to be reduced. If the field surface and sized residue isn’t level and smooth behind the unit, the pressure needs to be increased.

Down pressure is adjusted with a jam nut and hex nut on each of the two spring rod assemblies. Loosen the jam nut, which allows you to increase or decrease the spring tension by adjusting the hex nut. Once adjusted to the down pressure you want, re-tighten the jam nut to lock the spring in place.

Finally, the VT17 Series Vertical Tillage Tools are designed to operate in essentially a straight line. So always remember to raise the unit onto the transport wheels before making any turns. Otherwise, you could damage the disks, the gang bearings, and the hitch, all of which are costly to repair.

Talk to your John Deere dealer about which Frontier VT17 Series Vertical Tillage Tool would work best for your operation.

As always, remember to read the Operator’s Manual before operating any piece of equipment, and follow all operating and safety instructions.

Helpful Links:

VT17 Series (US CA)

John Deere Tractors (US CA)

Why vertical tillage might be right for you

Which tillage tool might be right for you

Find Your Dealer (US CA)