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"Backward" Trucks Tow Behind Forage Harvester
When John Baum heads out to the field pulling a truck behind his pull-type forage harvester, he's not surprised when people stop on the road to stare. He knows that few people have seen a setup quite like his.

The Appleton, Wis., farmer pulls a 3-ton Ford C8000 truck - equipped with a backward-mounted self-unloading, 20-ft. long Miller wagon box - behind his New Holland 900 forage harvester, towing off the back of the truck. When the box gets full, he unhooks the homemade hitch from the back of the truck and drives back home. There, he hooks a tractor up to the wagon's pto shaft and unloads the forage into a silo blower.

The truck's front wheels are used for steering. There are two cables that run from a rear hitch to the truck's tie rods.

"It eliminates the need for another tractor driver and lets me travel at highway speeds on the road," says Baum. "In the field it pulls just like a wagon. When the box is full I can get off the tractor and drive the truck back home, which allows me to work by myself. Another advantage is that a truck is less likely to get stuck than a tractor and wagon, because the weight of the load is over the truck's rear wheels, which are always driving. And driving on the highway is safer with a truck than pulling a wagon.

"I've got two of these self-unloading trucks. I bought them used but I bought the wagon boxes new. I paid $1,000 to $2,000 apiece for the trucks, which were about 15 years old and had a lot of miles on them but still ran good. The trucks were actually cheaper than what I would have paid for new wagon running gears."
Baum used round steel tubing to make the hitch and uses the same hitch for both trucks. When he's working alone he leaves the hitch on the ground wherever he unhooks it from the forage harvester. The back end of the hitch fits inside a slot in a big steel plate that he welded to the back of the truck. The hitch has a bolt that goes crosswise through two steel plates that drop down onto either side of the plate that's welded onto the truck. A 1/2-in. dia. safety pin goes across the top so the bolt can't bounce out, and there's a safety chain to keep the truck from turning too short.
The truck steers via a pivot point on back of the truck - a vertical steel pin that's welded to a 23-in. length of angle iron. A pair of cables that hook onto the angle iron run up to the truck's tie rods. The cables go over a pulley and criss cross, with one cable going to the left and one to the right. As a result, the truck follows right behind the forage harvester at all times.
Contact: FARM SHOW Followup, John Baum, N2801 Meade St., Appleton, Wis. 54913 (ph 920 739-2287).

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2002 - Volume #26, Issue #3