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Tired of stalks shredding his tires, Steven Meakins of Haxtun, Colorado, developed Stalk Bender to defend against damage.
“The Stalk Bender is an attachment mounted in front of the tire or track to bend stalks in the direction of travel as the tire or track passes over the stalks instead of running into them,” explains Meakins. “The simple motion significantly reduces the impact on tires and tracks, saving wear and tear on the tread and extending the life of the tractor, tires, and tracks.”
The Stalk Bender (shown above) attaches to the frame and is positioned 1 to 3 feet in front of the tire and between 4 and 5 inches from the ground.
“It uses a torsion spring principle to absorb the impact of the stalks, bending them over in the process,” he notes.
The tractor version ranges in price from $2,000 to $3,000; the unit for the planter is priced at $400 per tire.
Meakins admits that marketing his idea was one of the toughest hurdles he had to overcome. “People were skeptical that it wouldn’t work because it looked too simple,” he says. “They needed to see one work on a neighbor’s farm.”
At nearly 100 units sold, he didn’t let others’ skepticism deter him. Now, he encourages other farmer inventors.
“If you’re serious about taking your idea to the next level, connect with someone who has expertise in the industry,” he says.
Take the next step
Do you have an idea you’d like to take to market but aren’t sure where to start? Enter it in the Successful Farming® Innovation Showcase Contest for the opportunity to receive a one-day consultation with Thunder Creek Equipment.
Each winner will be featured in Successful Farming magazine and will be showcased at a national agricultural trade show.
From all the entries received, two finalists with the highest total scores based on originality, marketability and sales potential, ease of manufacture, and safety will be chosen.