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Mini Buckrake Harvests Compost Hay
There's no such thing as too much compost for most market gardeners, and Rich Dykstra is no exception. To get enough compost for his 1 1/2-acre garden, he harvests approximately 5 1/2 acres of hay each year with the aid of a home-built buckrake.
"I don't need it baled, and I don't want it cured; in fact, the fresher and wetter, the better," he says. "I knew a buckrake would let me gather the hay, but I couldn't find one in our area."
Dykstra worked with a neighbor to build a buckrake-like attachment for his loader-equipped, 35 hp Kubota. The forks are made from 1-in. sq. steel tubing. Uprights are made from 1 by 2-in. steel tubes. Forks and uprights are welded to a 6 by 6-in. tube. Steel tabs on it and the upright are placed to correspond with holes drilled in Dykstra's Kubota loader. Removing the unit is a matter of pulling four 4-in. pins.
"The entire width of the buckrake is 7 ft., and the forks are 3 ft. long," explains Dykstra.
He drives down the field after mowing to gather a load and drops it on his trailer to take to the compost area. Dykstra again uses the buckrake to place the hay in windrows, adding horse manure from local stables. The 100-ft. windrows start out 6 ft. wide at the base and 3 to 4 ft. high. He lets them sit for about a month before mixing them up. Dkystra removes the buckrake and uses his tractor and loader to turn the piles over.
"It has been an invaluable tool for handling loose hay," he says.
Contact: FARM SHOW Followup, Rich Dykstra, Peacefield Farm, 4959 W. Deren Road, Ludington, Mich. 49431 (231 843-3066; rich@peacefieldfarm.com; www.peace fieldfarm.com).

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2008 - Volume #32, Issue #6