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Triple-Seat Asparagus Harvester
With 17 acres of asparagus to pick, workers at Edgar Farms in Innisfail, Alberta, needed something to speed up the process. The harvesting machine Doug Edgar designed and built turned out so well he built two more.
  "Everything is made out of new materials," Edgar explains. "These have to run 6 to 7 weeks, and they need to be reliable. I want to be able to get parts for them quickly if they break down."
  The design is simple, with foot steering and a shift behind the seat. Pickers lean forward and pick asparagus between their legs. Each machine has a main section operated by a driver with two wings that detach easily with quick pins, if there are just one or two pickers. The seats are 5 ft. apart to go directly over the asparagus rows.
  The 1/8-in. wall, 1 1/2-in. square tubing framework runs 8 in. above the ground on wheelbarrow-size front tires with high-speed tapered wheel bearings. The back has 22 x 11.00-8 floatation tires. Conduit up the sides and over the top supports pvc white canvas that protects pickers from sun and rain. A side bracket supports a basket, and there's a back rack for extra baskets.
  Each machine is powered by a Honda motor and 5-speed lawn mower transmission with 5-to-1 belt reduction between the motor and transmission to achieve a 1/2 to 1 mph picking speed. Edgar retrofitted old propane tanks for fuel tanks that fuel the machine for about 7 10-hr. days.
  Altogether, Edgar estimates he spent about $3,000 (Canadian) per machine and that it would cost about $5,000 now. They've been very reliable over the years and helped Doug and Elna Edgar successfully grow and market quality asparagus since 1989, along with peas, beans and livestock from their 6-generation farm.
  Contact: FARM SHOW Followup, Edgar Farms, Rt. 3, Innisfail, Alberta Canada T4G 1T8 (ph 403 227-2443; www.edgarfarms.com).

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2009 - Volume #33, Issue #5