1999 - Volume #23, Issue #5, Page #05[ Sample Stories From This Issue | List of All Stories In This Issue | Print this story | Read this issue]
Iowa Inventor Creating "New Breed" Of Farm Equipment
After years of watching and reading about narrow row planters and cultivators, site specific cropping, and GPS applications of fertilizer and other inputs, he realized there was something missing. Despite all the advances in equipment, there was still no quick and easy way to change row widths to adapt to various terrain.
That prompted Moeller to come up with what he says will be a totally new breed of machines which he calls Variable-Width Farm Equipment. "What if you could plant 30-in. corn in the morning and 20-in. beans in the afternoon using the same planter? And all that would be required to change row spacing would be the pull of a hydraulic lever. You could even switch on-the-go from 38-in. rows on poor soil to 15-in. rows on your best ground."
Moeller has a patent pending on his new concept which he has submitted to a number of equipment manufacturers for evaluation. Essentially, it consists of pivoting tool bar wings mounted on a center beam. To narrow up the rows, the toolbar wings angle backward. The toolbar wings are fitted with a parallel linkage that changes the angle of the planter units, cultivator shanks, or other equipment mounted on it. Moeller calls it a "collapsing parallelogram" and says the design could be adapted to planters, cultivators, and chisel plows.
"Unlike other technologies that lock out smaller farmers, this concept will benefit everyone. It can be used for 4-row equipment as well as 16-row.
"There are many benefits to the concept. You could use the wider setting for the first knock-down pass in the spring or when there's a lot of residue. Then you can narrow up the setting for finishing the seedbed. And in real weedy areas you can narrow up even more. If the shovels on a cultivator start wearing out, you can merely narrow up the implement rather than having to stop to change shovels. And on a wet day, when weeds tend to escape between shovels, you can just collapse the machine to get them all.
"I feel this is one of the first universal concepts to come along in a long while. It will benefit all farmers, not just the top 15 percent who can justify the biggest, most expensive equipment."
Moeller would like to hear from readers to get their comments on the design. He hopes to license his concept to a manufacturer in the next year. Contact: FARM SHOW Followup, Brian Moeller, 3126 Valley Ave., Lohrville, Iowa 51453 (ph 515 467-5550).
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