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Steel-Wheeled Tractor Makes Field Drainage Easy
"It's a simple, fast way to drain water out of fields. I just drive my tractor back and forth across the field and watch the water flow into the furrows made by the wheels," says Larry Easley, Garland City, Ark., who mounted homemade steel wheels on his Deere 870 MFWD tractor.
  His homemade wheels measure 5 ft. high on back and 3 ft. high on front. Each wheel is 12 in. wide at the center but tapers out to only a 2 1/2-in. width at the rim. The wheels make V-shaped, 4 to 6-in. deep ditches that disturb very little soil, allowing Easley to use the tractor right after seeding without doing significant damage to crops.
  "The beauty of this system is that all I have to do is drive my tractor. There's no implement to pull and nothing to repair," says Easley. "It works better than pto-driven ditchers because the ground doesn't have to be dry. My soil is mostly heavy clay but I can drive across it no matter how wet it is with no problems."
  He used 3/8-in. thick reinforced steel plate to make the wheels, which are hollow with spokes welded on between the rim and hub in order to keep the rim from bending. A 10-in. dia. steel pipe serves as the hub. A local machine shop roll 2-in. wide strips of 1/2-in. thick steel for the rims. He then welded short pieces of 1/2-in. steel rod to the wheel every 5 in. apart for traction.
  "It works so well my neighbors want to borrow it all the time. It's amazing what the wheels can go through," says Easley. "I can go into a field right after a heavy rain and drive through ponded water with no problem. It's neat watching the water follow my wheel ruts out of the field. The big wheels give the tractor a lot of clearance so even if I bottom out the front wheels I can usually still keep on going. However, I have got stuck a couple of times. Because of the narrow footprint I can even make ditches after the crops are up without damaging a lot of crop. My total cost was less than $500.
  "I don't drive the tractor on roads but instead haul it on a trailer."
  Contact: FARM SHOW Followup, Larry Easley, Box 87, Garland City, Ark. 71839 (ph 870 683-2247).

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2000 - Volume #24, Issue #2