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Tractor-Mounted Picker Harvests 12 Tons Per Hour
"There's a big market for ear corn in our part of the country," says Truman Lively who built a one-of-a-kind 4-row corn picker that mounts on his International 856 tractor. "I use the same tractor for planting, cultivating and spraying."
He started with a used 438 conventional corn head off an old Allis-Chalmers combine. He used the picking units from the header and stripped them down to the frame.
He used a 12-ft. long, 4 by 6-in. toolbar under the middle of the tractor, bolting it in place with angle iron. He mounted two picking units on either side of the tractor, mounting them on the 12-ft. toolbar so that they can pivot up and down. He can adjust picking height from 4 to 36 in. off the ground. A 4 by 8-in. cylinder mounts under each pair of picking units to tilt them up and down.
Two 6-ft. long by 9-in. wide elevators that Lively built are fitted with slats off the old combine.
Two 30-in. long, 9-in. dia. augers, built out of pipe and commercial flighting, carry ears to a 13-ft. long, 12-in. wide cross conveyor. It carries corn from the elevators to the picker's 16-ft. long, 18-in. wide discharge elevator. Two fans off an old International 422 coton picker mount above the cross conveyor to blow trash off it.
One of the biggest challenges in the project was figuring out the power train, Lively says.
"I came off the rear of the tractor at the pto and ran a #80 double roller chain down about 12 in.," he says. "I mounted a driveshaft where the drawbar originally fit on the tractor and ran it to the front of the tractor where I mounted a gearbox, which came off a Deere cotton picker, on the main crossmember. I came out of each side of the gearbox and ran a shaft to the sprocket on each row unit."
Another challenge was figuring out the correct size sprockets that would allow him to run the picking units off the tractor's 540 rpm pto shaft and the cross conveyor, fans and rear elevator off the 1,000 rpm pto shaft.
Lively says he used plywood shields on the sides of the tractor to keep corn in the elevators. He also replaced the tractor's wide front axle with a fork axle and single tire off a mobile home. The tire runs between his 38 in. rows.
"I can pick 10 to 12 tons of corn an hour at 2 to 3 mph," Lively says. "I've found that 14 to 16 ft. long wagons with 3 ft. sides are ideal to pull behind the picker. Anything bigger would be too heavy to pull loaded."
Lively takes the picker off the tractor in five sections - the main cross beam with picking units, the two outside elevators, rear elevator, and cross conveyor. It takes about an hour and a half to remove it and about three hours to put it back on.
Out-of-pocket expense was $750, including the old corn head.
For more information, contact: FARM SHOW Followup, Truman Lively, 279 Truman Lively Rd., Winnsboro, La. 71295 (ph 318 435-7838).

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1997 - Volume #21, Issue #4