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Big idea: Anhydrous & disk in one rig
Matt Gruhn’s implement not only saves his operation fuel by eliminating a pass through fields but also makes it much easier for the field cultivator to do its job.
“We were having to make an extra pass on soybean stubble, because the soybean straw was getting to be so tough in the spring that it would bunch up behind the field cultivator,” he says. “So I thought that since we’re out there anyway putting on anhydrous, why not make that anhydrous bar do a little tillage as it goes through the field?
It’s like a one-pass tool – sort of a soil finisher. It slices the trash and moves just enough soil that the one pass we make with the field cultivator before planting is easy and plug-free,” he explains.
Two units are joined
To get started, Gruhn first stripped the gangs off the frame of a 22-foot disk purchased at a farm sale for about $3,000 in 2005. He then arranged them in front of the applicator to match the widths of the five sections of the applicator since it has a double folding wing.
The gangs are mounted on a tube that has a turnbuckle for depth adjustment, which means the disk gang depth can be adjusted independently from the applicator.
“We wanted the disk gang to be able to flex upward when we go over rocks. I couldn’t find a gang flex spring for this John Deere 230 disk, so I looked around and found that the springs for a White 271 disk were just the right size and strength. I had to build the spring mounts to attach to the gang bearings and frame,” he says.
Still going strong
In use now since fall 2005, Gruhn reports that the original springs still work great. “After at least 10,000 acres, we just now put on new blades.” The 20-inch blades have a relatively shallow concave, he says.
He adds that they use it on corn-on-corn as well as to follow soybeans.
This project took Gruhn between 40 and 60 hours, he estimates, over the course of a couple weeks, and he puts the total cost at around $5,000.
Gruhn says some of his neighbors have expressed interest in building their own versions of this implement. “For some, it’s just what they need,” he agrees.
As for Gruhn, his next project is mounting cylinders on their planter’s wings to put hydraulic downpressure on them for better seed depth. This will also take weight off the heavy, compaction-causing center.
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