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Home-Built Machine Built To Move Brush
"We've been building our own brush-hauling machines for 30 years so we've got the design perfected. They work better than anything on the market," says Mike Vereschagin, a fruit grower from California.
  "Most orchardists use a brush rake attachment on front-end loaders to remove prunings from the orchard. The problem is that with a 2-wheel drive tractor, as the load increases on the front end, traction is decreased on back, especially in winter when orchards are wet and muddy. And maneuverability is bad because the loaders stick out so far in front on a conventional tractor.
  "Our latest brush-handling machine started out as a 1980 32-ft. diesel-powered motor home that we picked up at a wrecking yard. It had only 58,000 miles on it and was powered by a Cummins 504 cu.in. V-8 diesel with a 4-speed Allison transmission. We paid just $1,700 for the complete chassis and running gear and the wrecking yard even ripped off the body for us.
  "The first thing we did was to remove the front axle and move it behind the rear axle, mounted under the engine with a leaf spring removed to soften the ride since we didn't need its 6,000-lb. capacity anymore. The steering is a Charlynn hydraulic power steering system. I shortened the frame and used the extra parts of the frame which I cut off to double up the frame from the motor to the front end.
  "I then moved the rear end forward, mounting it to the frame solid without springs and lengthening the drive line about 3 ft. The rear end has a 12,5000-lb. rating and a 4.88 ratio.
  "We made brush forks 8 ft. long and 9 ft. wide from 2 1/2-in. square tubing The two lift cylinders are 3 by 24 in. and the tilt cylinders 2 by 30 in. They're powered by a belt-driven pump off the crankshaft. With the forks level, it will lift 7 ft. high for stacking brush on top of another pile or setting on the burn pile. Lift capacity is only limited by the weight of the machine on the steering axle. I could add additional counter weight for larger loads but it's not necessary since it can already handle larger loads than most tractors.
  "As the load increases, traction increases. The rear wheel steering gets around row ends better since the forks pivot around when turning. In fact, I can flip a U-turn from one row to the next in the middle of the orchard without backing up. Braking is better under all conditions since it has power brakes on all four wheels. The automatic transmission eliminates clutch use when going back and forth. And it's fast. We can go 10 to 12 mph handling brush and travel 30 mph on the road, which is only limited by steering control because of the rear steering."
  Contact: FARM SHOW Followup, Mike Vereschagin, Vereschagin Farms, Inc., 3548 County Road P, Orland, Calif. 95963 (ph 530 865-4059).

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2003 - Volume #27, Issue #1