Gino <[log in to unmask]>

Mon, Mar 15, 10:13 AM
to vtvegandberry
I am in need of a new walk behind tiller and I understand that BCS machines have a PTO that runs countless attachments. If you own one or have used one, what has been your experience, with which model, and with any particular attachments you have used? 
Gino Palmeri
Vermont Elderberry

Justin Rich <[log in to unmask]>

Mon, Mar 15, 10:22 AM
to me
hey Gino,

Not what you were asking, but we have a ~35 yr old BCS with a tiller, sickle bar mower (might be a rotary mower - it's at my father in law's house and I've never even seen it), and snow blower attachment that we don't use anymore.  It could use some TLC with the motor (it's very hard to start but I've almost always been able to get it running) but it's seen relatively little use in its lifetime.  We'd sell it for pretty cheap, like $500 for the package.  


Boots Wardinski <[log in to unmask]>

Mon, Mar 15, 10:24 AM
to me
If you get a bcs, make sure you have a mechanic that works on them. Some will work on the engine but not the rest of it. Parts can be difficult to obtain. That said I have been happy with mine. Fortunately there is someone close that works  on them and sells equipment.

Evening Song Farm

Mon, Mar 15, 10:28 AM
to me
Hi Gino, we have a BCS 853 that we use mostly with a 30inch power harrow for preparing beds in our high tunnels.  BCS are very well built and reliable.  Depending on what you're using it for, I'd recommend a power harrow over a rotary tiller.  It makes a better seedbed with much better depth control, so you don't have to churn up your soil and create the conditions for degradation of soil structure with repeated use over 5+ years. We usually set our power harrow so that it skims the top inch or two of the soil, and it leaves us a wonderful rolled seedbed to plant into.  It's a big beefy machine...takes a little more strength to maneuver than an old troy-bilt tiller.

Neat to learn about your elderberry farm, our vegetable farm has grown about 50 bushes of Coomer and Berryhill for the past 5 years.  We love them!  Would love to stay in touch to trade notes on best practices for elder management.

Long Days Farm <[log in to unmask]>

Mon, Mar 15, 10:34 AM
to me
We have a Grillo G110 (gasoline) 13 hp.  It is way more user friendly than our old G107D which in turn was better than our ancient rope start BCS that we got used 20 years ago.  There are a wide variety of implements that are compatible across BCS and Grillo.  

Joel at Earth Tools is your man.  Call him and tell him what you need to do.   But do it soon.  They are very busy in the spring.  He convinced us that Grillo would be easier  than BCS for us to maintain ourselves but we were still able to use our old BCS implements.   We have a Grillo tiller, Berta rotary plow, flail mower, and sickle bar.   We had a Biagoli spud digger and cultivator and did not find them useful.   We have friends who have a power harrow and I think they are pleased with it.   

I would not use the rotary plow for primary tillage of large areas.  It cuts a narrow swath, is hard on your body, and the cutting tips wear out quickly in rocky soil.  The flail mower is great.   We use it to mow edges, mow cover crops, chop up corn stalks and asparagus foliage, etc


Manns Hill <[log in to unmask]>

Mon, Mar 15, 10:47 AM
to me
We have an 853 and a 739
Flail mower
Rinaldi power harrow
Rotary plow
The machines are both great / reliable
The power harrow and the rotary plow get the most use in our applications 
Purchased from Earth Tools though we try to purchase as much as possible locally.
Joel at Earth Tools is amazing. Worth breaking the buy local rule for. You will want his support if you buy a machine.
Good luck!

Nathan Hammer <[log in to unmask]>

Mon, Mar 15, 11:16 AM
to me
If I remember correctly I have used the 730 series. It really depends on what you are tilling. If you are not going into sod and are doing about an acre or less they are great. They create smaller beds than a tractor which can be both helpful and a hindrance depending on the situation. They just bounce on hard ground and rocks and don't make a great seeding bed in those situations, but they are heavier than other walk behinds so don't bounce as much. I think of them as specific small farm tools. I haven't used them for anything other than rototilling. I appreciate that you can rotate the handle so you don't have to walk in the row you are making. That said, if there are rocks or hard ground the machine definitely pulled me around some times. I am 6'4" and 180ish lbs. One thing I did like a lot about it was that when I had the option of a tractor and a BCS and I was only doing 1 or two beds or tilling it made a lot more sense to just run the BCS for a couple of minutes instead of what can sometimes seem like a pain getting the tractor equipment all hooked up. I also was not as concerned about compaction when using the BCS. 

All that said, I have only ever used them for two year stretches on different farms and don't know how long they hold up for longer than that. They are pretty beefy but there are some weak points that tend to break if mishandled.

I don't know if that is helpful at all.

Nathan Hammer
Firefly Fields

John and Joy Primmer <[log in to unmask]>

Mon, Mar 15, 7:49 PM
to me
Hi Gino,
We use a BCS 850. It's 25 years old, and replaced the engine once.  I think the comparable model now is the 853.  We have a 1 1/2 acre market garden.   The BCS is the only tractor we have.  We till, plow, harrow, flail mow, haul a cart ( up to 1/2 ton a firm ground), snow plow and snow blow with it.    Not sure what your needs are but I highly recommend   Earth Tools .  Great folks, really great service.  Out of Kentucky but they have walked us through many repairs.  They also carry Grillo walk behind tractors.  Earth Tools carries BCS implements but also other Italian brands that are much more rugged.

Sweet Roots Farm <[log in to unmask]>

Mar 15, 2021, 10:23 PM
to me
I managed a 2 acre operation using primarily a BCS. We had an 853 and a 750. We used all kinds of attachments - tiller, rotary plow, power harrow, flail mower, compost spreader etc.
Our farm was run primarily by average stature women and everyone was trained on the BCS. Some of the implements are very heavy and a bit awkward but once you get used to it, it's great. The machine is a workhorse!
Earth Tools is a great resource. They are super knowledgeable.
Happy to share more info if you want.
Good luck!

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