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All Around the Farm: March 2017

custom-made headache rack  

After searching local stores and then the internet for a headache rack and still not finding what I wanted, I decided to make my own. It is custom-designed to fit into my pickup’s stake holes. It’s bolted from the inside, but the two bolts come out easily. Total cost for materials was $60 vs. a store-bought model for $300 to $600.    

Jeff Hayes | Cumming, Iowa

weights are weights   

I use cast-off gym weights for effective counterbalance weight on my tractor and implements. Plenty of used weights are available at used athletic equipment stores, pawn shops, and yard sales. I use either weight equipment bars or steel piping for mounting.    

Mark Bullock | Bogue Chitto, Mississippi 

summer dreaming    

It’s still winter, but I want to share this idea I use when it’s about time for the fruit to fall. I use electric fence posts to suspend bird netting under each tree. The fruit doesn’t hit the ground and end up bruised. (It also makes it much easier to collect the fruit!)   

Larry Haus | Lidgerwood, North Dakota 

streamlined manual   

To make sure I didn’t miss any fittings while greasing my combine, I used to carry around the huge owner’s manual. Then I made copies of just the lubrication pages and put them in plastic sleeves in a binder. Now I grab the binder. No more having to fumble through the entire manual.   

John Craig | Genoa, Illinois 

more awareness for the safety toolbox   

Prompted by the death of a 29-year-old neighbor overcome by deadly gases as he checked his manure pit agitator, I came up with one way to lessen the risk of this happening again. I converted a 48-inch barn cooling fan to hydraulic drive. With a 30-foot hose and wheels, it can be postioned as needed.         

Jeff Laskowski | Plover, Wisconsin

keep food frozen    

I have a self-defrosting deep freezer. The other day, I noticed the door wasn’t closed all the way, and it had begun warming up inside. I had a wireless indoor-outdoor thermometer I wasn’t using, so I put the sensor in the freezer. The receiver can sit anywhere within 200 feet of the sensor, so it can be seen often. This device can save a lot of food!    

Jerry Allen | Perry, Iowa 

bags won’t snag  

I had trouble in my workplace with bean bags getting snagged by the top edge of forks. I added this spacer built of 2×4s to my forklifts, and it solved the problem. The forks can still be moved in or out. When they’re spread completely apart, the spacer comes out easily. This works especially well for pushing pallets onto trucks or working with seed boxes.         

Phil Harms | Flanagan, Illinois

a perfect cover-up   

When I went to repaint my shop floor, I realized I needed to protect the siding from splatter. So I took a piece of the leftover corrugated shop siding and cut it in 1-foot-high sections. Then I lined up the corrugations over the existing shop siding and held each section on with magnets. I was able to work on the shop floor while these pieces masked the original siding and kept it paint-free.   

Craig Brown | Decatur, Illinois 

skid steer attachment rack   

After driving over a skid loader attachment buried in the snow one too many times, I built these shelves from 2- and 3-inch galvanized, used oil pipe casing I had on hand. It’s 8 feet high and 12 feet wide, and it took me about six hours to build. Now, I just drive up with the skid loader to attach or detach as needed.  

Wayne Waldner | Mitchell, South Dakota

monitors outside the cab 

To better monitor anhydrous ammonia flow and to avoid interruptions from low tank pressure, on/off switch malfunctions, or operator error, I mounted manifold pressure gauges outside the tractor windshield where they can be constantly watched. There are electronic monitors that sense the flow, but they cost over $1,000. These were less than $50, and the bracket was made from surplus steel.   

Robert Busch | Waverly, Iowa

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