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Horse-Drawn Sicklebar Mower
Marvin Brisk built an in-line sicklebar mower that can be drawn by horse or subcompact tractor in response to requests from local organic vineyard and fruit growers, who were looking for ways to get rid of weeds and grass between trees without using chemicals.
"Most fruit growers have a green zone between rows," says Brisk. "I had one guy after me for several years, wanting a 4-ft. horse drawn mower to use at his vineyard."
The answer, decided Brisk, was an in-line sickle bar. He used New Holland off-the-shelf parts so replacement or repair would be easy.
"I made the drive based on a wobble box off a New Holland with a Pitman arm on it," says Brisk. "It's ground driven, using sprockets and no. 60 chain with pillow block bearings, all parts that are easy to get in any town."
Tires were used 16-in. front-end lugs from a 4-WD compact tractor.
The axle/drive unit uses a spring-loaded override Brisk designed. It allows one wheel to speed up while the other slows at turns.
"I get calls from guys with blueberries and anything in narrow row situations with cover crops," says Brisk. "They want a mower that will cut a cover crop and lay it down for a mulch. Since it is getting mulched anyway, what little the horse hoofs knock down doesn't matter."
Currently he is working on a couple of 5-ft. units for more common row spacings. They will have a planetary drive to eliminate some of the vibration and also make the unit easier to pull. The wider mowers will be designed to be pulled by a team with foot pedal steering. If a team gets off a bit, the operator can keep from taking out a plant or vine. A tongue will also be available for use behind a compact tractor.
"With the new drive systems for the sickle bar, these 5-ft. units will have to be priced around $4,500 to $5,000," says Brisk. "Parts and steel aren't cheap."
Contact: FARM SHOW Followup, Marvin Brisk, 45634 Lone Fir Rd., Halfway, Oregon 97834 (ph 541 742-4071; oaktreeranch@ cheerful.com).

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2008 - Volume #32, Issue #2