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Farmer-Built Weed Burner Turns Chore Into One-Person Job

By recycling his farm’s pull-type model and incorporating materials from other used machines, Richard Schmunk, Eaton, Colorado, built a weed burner that turns the chore into a one-person job.  

“Keeping the ditches and cement pads clean makes it easier to set our irrigation tubes,” he says. Besides building a frame that hooks to the tractor’s quick-hitch, he modified the burner with an orbital motor.

“It took us a while to work out the kinks in the hydraulics to get the range we needed,” Schmunk recalls.

A limiter valve keeps the boom from turning too quickly. 

When the Schmunks want to change from running the baskets perpendicular to the weeds, the baskets will rotate to a parallel position. 

“One of my next projects is building another weed burner so we can do all our property at once. The new one will have a worm gear, though,” says Schmunk. 

More on the weed burner:

  • Fueled by propane: Shut off both an inline valve and the safety when finished. 
  • Flexible in operation: All movement is controlled with hydraulics. The driveshaft from the modified pull-type is replaced with a hydraulic orbital motor.  
  • 15-foot boom: Baskets lower to below ground level or lift up to 12 feet in the air. The boom also moves 90° to the right or left. The three-point hitch adds even more reach. 

More about richard schmunk

Operation: The Schmunk family of Eaton, Colorado, grows sugar beets, wheat, alfalfa, and silage. In addition to his father, Gary, Richard Schmunk works with two uncles and two cousins. 

Family: He and his wife, Katie, who provides child care, have three children: Jacob, 10; Emily, 8; and Lexi, 5. “We are pretty busy with school and 4-H,” he says.  

Two-time winner: In September 2013, Schmunk’s beet roller was the Idea of the Month. See that winning entry and the weed burner, too, in Season 11 of the Successful Farming Show on RFD-TV.   

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