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Big idea from the farm: Grain cart fire extinguisher

02/03/2014 @ 2:44pm

The harvest of 2013 is now a recent memory. Gildford, Montana, farmer Brian Stahl came away with one especially vivid recollection.

“My cousins in Canada lost a brand-new combine when it burned up in the field. It had less than 50 hours on it. It was not a pretty sight, that’s for sure,” Stahl says.

So in an effort to prevent such a calamity from happening to his own machinery, Stahl outfitted his grain cart with a firefighting station.

Of course, it was already equipped with a large fire extinguisher.

“But fire extinguishers empty so fast,” he points out.

He figures the new 165-gallon tank, hose, and nozzle will buy him extra critical time, should he ever need it.  

Simple to install

Stahl says the setup was pretty easy to install.

“I bolted 8-inch C-channel to the undercarriage of the grain cart frame. It is heavy enough that I could drill holes in it to set a platform for the tank,” Stahl explains.

He uses two chains to help support the weight, and two turnbuckles tighten the chains. The ratchet tie-downs provide stability.

Stahl took the pump from an old sprayer for this project. Two hydraulic hoses are plumbed from the pump to the tractor.

“I had to make an adjustment and turn down the hydraulics. It really puts out. At the setting I have it adjusted to now, it would take the 165-gallon tank about 10 to 15 minutes to empty,” he says.

Has a fire nozzle

The 75-foot-long, ¾-inch hose he bought for his firefighting center has a fire nozzle at one end.  

“Big R, my local farm and ranch store, had one,” Stahl says. [Editor’s note: Online retailer Amazon.com also features an assortment of these nozzles, all of which cost less than $30.]

Besides the tank, Stahl also purchased a valve for the pump and fittings.

A good influence

Fortunately, Stahl hasn’t had to try out his equipment in any kind of emergency situation on his farm in north-central Montana.

“I intend to paint that frame I added, though, and the way I built it will make it simple to remove and put back on. Also, I could put it on a new grain cart if we decide to buy a bigger one,” he says.  

“My Canadian cousins who lost their combine now have a very similar setup,” Stahl says.

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