Keeping warm with farm shop projects

  • 01

    Jim Cooper's been spending a lot of time in his shop on his Grant, Nebraska, farm these days, getting his iron in shape and looking forward to spring. Check out a couple of his recent projects.

    So, what's got you busy in your farm shop these days? Join the discussion in Shop Talk.

  • 02

    New strip-till row cleaners

    Cooper's latest shop project is a set of new row cleaners on his strip till rig. "I had 12 stems with the old-style Groff Ag row cleaners," he says. "I decided to fabricate a bracket for my strip-tiller and try them out. They worked beautifully so I decided to upgrade to the newer heavy-duty style."

  • 03

    Getting heavy

    "It took a little fabrication work to make the old stems work with the new wheels," Cooper says. The new wheels, he says, are "designed to sweep away crop residue to allow a perfect seedbed."

  • 04

    A little extra iron

    In order to accommodate the new row cleaner wheels, Cooper had to do some extra ironwork: "Grinding and cutting off the old square shoulder washers to allow mounting the new heavier-duty wheels," he says.

  • 05

    Jig it up

    To make everything fit together just right, Cooper made a jig to "position the tab (shiny portion) for welding to keep the wheels from unscrewing from the assembly," he says.

  • 06

    Finished product

    Here's one of the row cleaner assemblies all put together, painted and "ready to install," Cooper says.

  • 07

    Quality control

    Here's the finished product: The group of completed assemblies, with Cooper's "quality inspector," his dog Dessa, making sure everything's in good shape. "Net savings over buying new stems: $2,400," Cooper says.

  • 08

    Auger project

    Cooper's also making some improvements on his grain auger. This section of auger tube bottom was worn out. "Cut the old piece of the worn auger tube bottom with an air cutoff tool and torched the safety screen off the old assembly," he says.

  • 09

    New ring

    After replacing the auger tubing and safety screen, Cooper added a new hitch D-ring.

  • 10

    Ready for the bin

    The completed fabrication: "The only new parts were the silver sleeve and about 11 inches of 3/8x3x11 flat," he says. "Hopefully it will last another year -- it only has to unload 1 bin where we only have single-phase power."

  • 11

    Meanwhile, they're lining up

    But, with today's markets, it's tough to stay in the shop all winter making iron improvements, as shown by the truck line at Cooper's local elevator. "Harvest in January? The line this afternoon felt like it, but just a lot of grain coming in," he says.

  • 12

    Back to it

    "Slickery" is Cooper's description of the trek home from the elevator after taking in a load of corn.

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