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Roll over tough stubble

Tires that carry ag equipment have a heavy load to bear. Traveling across a field or down the road, these round wonders have to handle a variety of conditions. One of their latest challenges is withstanding stalks that cut them to the core. And this remains an issue for growers as they head to the fields.

Tire manufacturers experiment with compounds that will resist stubble damage. But it's been challenging to keep up with the rapidly changing plant genetics that make stalks stronger with each new generation.

If cornstalks are taking a toll on your tires, Troy Mannon might just have the solution. Mannon, who has a 400-head cow-calf operation near Oconto, Nebraska, created the Manco Stalk Roller to smash down cornstalks before they reach the tires.

“Tough stubble is really hard on farmers in my area who strip-till,” says Mannon. “I heard about the problems my neighbors were having and told them I would build a solution if they'd be willing to try it.”

After one season of use, Mannon made modifications to his original concept. He feels his latest version, which has seen changes in roller diameter as well as design, is even better than the first.

Even though the basic design is the same, Mannon made the diameter of the drum slightly smaller on the current version.

“The small-diameter drum increases per-square-inch ground pressure to the stubble,” he notes. “At the same time, it increases ground clearance in the raised position from 15 to 18 inches.”

The blades that once ran the length of each 500-pound drum have been replaced with 12¾-inch-diameter smooth tubing that is ⅞ inch thick.

“I went to a smooth roller because the drum with blades stirred up the cornstalks and would plug the radiator screen on tractors,” he says.

The Manco Stalk Roller is made up of two 48-inch drums on the 30-inch row model, which are separated by 48 inches. Each drum is designed to crush the stalks ahead of the tires on a tractor doing fieldwork in standing stubble. The lift cylinder lets the roller float across the field, which means full weight-to-ground contact is maintained.

At almost 13 feet wide, the two 500-pound drums and heavy-duty frame weigh 2,760 pounds. Each drum is supported by four bolt flange bearings. The unit mounts to the weight brackets on the front end of the tractor and is priced at $6,900.

“The unit can also be equipped with a center roller for cotton growers who like to knock down center rows,” Mannon says.

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Manco Manufacturing Inc.


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