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Giant 87-Ft. Hoe Drill Still Going Strong After 20 Years
"It was one of the largest hoe drills in North America when I built it 20 years ago and, as far as I know, it's still bigger than any air seeder on the market," says Clifford Arnal, Ravenscrag, Sask., about his 87-ft. hoe drill that's made up of six Case-IH 7200 14-ft. drills hooked together with a one-of-a-kind transport hitch.
  "We use it to plant 4,000 to 8,000 acres per year of wheat, barley, oats, and peas. A Versatile 835 310 hp 4-WD tractor pulls the unit.
  "We built it because we needed more capacity and also because we wanted the accuracy of a drill. At the time, the biggest air seeder on the market was 50 ft. wide. We had Apollo Hitch Co. build our transport hitch, which has seven wheels and is designed to pull the drills endwise. In transport position it's 121 ft. from the tractor to the back of the last drill.
  "The three rear wheels steer hydraulically, while the four forward wheels are solid. When we come to an intersection we can hydraulically steer the back end of the drill right from the tractor cab. All seven wheels are spaced about 14 ft. apart.
  "Through the years we improved the system a little each year but the biggest step was in 1999, when we increased the size of the seed boxes and also added step-up walkways. There's enough seed and fertilizer capacity that we can plant more than 160 acres without having to refill.
  "Cleaning leftover seed out of the drills isn't as easy as it would be with an air seeder, but we make the job easier by using a grain vac. Our drills don't have as much trash clearance as an air seeder does, which can be a disadvantage if the straw is long. To solve that problem we use a Straw Storm chopper on our combine. It chops the straw into shorter lengths so we can use our drill with no problems. Another advantage is that the soil warms up faster.
  "We use a Gleaner combine as a drill fill. There's a flexible plastic down spout at the end of the unloading auger and also a specially-designed tarp over the tank. It takes the combine only about five minutes to fill the drill - 2 1/2 minutes for seed and 2 1/2 minutes for fertilizer. The combine's large tires allow it to go through wet fields where a truck would bog down. Some of our farms are a long ways apart, so we use a semi trailer to haul seed over the highway and then transfer it to the combine. If we have to haul the seed only 8 or 10 miles, we just use the combine."
  Contact: FARM SHOW Followup, Clifford L. Arnal, Box 5, Ravenscrag, Sask., Canada S0N 0T0 Canada (ph 306 295-2600).

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2001 - Volume #25, Issue #3