2011 - Volume #35, Issue #4, Page #23[ Sample Stories From This Issue | List of All Stories In This Issue | Print this story | Read this issue]
Silo Tractor Now A Local Landmark
Martin, a Grove City, Minn. farmer who enjoys old tractors and practical jokes, completed the whole project in 6 days back in 2002.
"My silo had been empty for quite awhile and my neighbor had an old B Deere sitting in his pasture. I bought it for a couple hundred bucks, and he warned me the motor was froze tight," Martin said. "I told him that was just fine, because I'm just gonna perch it on top of my silo anyhow."
When Martin got the old Deere home he gave it a good paint job. "It had to look like a nice tractor so more people would think I was absolutely crazy for putting something that nice up there," Martin says.
Next he called his friend Curtis Wendt, who owned a large crane used for dismantling grain bins. "I told him what I needed help with and I think he laughed for 10 min.," Martin said. But a few days later, Wendt and the crane arrived as planned.
In the meantime, Martin located a large metal lid from a fertilizer tank to serve as the tractor platform. "I needed something round, and the cover was 12 ft. in diameter and 1/2 in. thick," Martin says. "It was definitely the right idea, except the lid was two feet smaller than my 14-ft. silo. We had to improvise by welding metal arms on 4 sides to clamp over the staves."
After the platform was completed, the tractor was positioned in the center and chained in place. Wendt used the crane to remove the old roof from the silo, then lifted the tractor and the circular support platform onto the top row of staves. The silo tractor stands in Martin's farmyard about 400 ft. south of Highway 12, a busy road that runs from Minneapolis west to South Dakota. The landmark is easily visible as cars travel east or west.
"The fun started the first day it was up there," Martin says. "We watched cars slowing down and pointing. Many drivers stop and take pictures. Over the years we've probably had 50 or more people drive in the yard and ask why it's up there, and how I got it there.
"A few years ago my dad was in the VA hospital in St. Paul and he was talking to a guy from Iowa," Martin says. "Dad said he was from Grove City, and the Iowan asked if he knew the crazy farmer who had a tractor on his silo. Dad was a bit embarrassed to admit that the ęcrazy farmer' was his son.
"This landmark has created more laughs and excitement over the years than a barrel of monkeys," Martin says. "For a few hundred bucks we've been entertained for years."
The silo tractor is located on U.S. Highway 12 at mile marker 94, east of Grove City, Minn.
Contact: FARM SHOW Followup, Paul Martin, 56477 CSAH 11, Grove City, Minn. (ph 320 857-2631).
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