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Rebuilt 40-Year-Old Planter Works Better Than New
Mike Bauer has been rebuilding machinery for more than 50 years. He hates buying new equipment, instead opting to repair, refurbish or rebuild older equipment. “Everything I farm with someone else gave up on,” Bauer says. “Tractors, combines, wagons, corn planters, disks and diggers….that about covers my full line of machinery.”
  His 40-year-old rebuilt corn planter is a prime example of innovative ideas and precise workmanship tackling rusted old iron. “When I bought the original 6-row 400 Cyclo planter for $300, it looked like it had planted half of Iowa and never seen a shed,” says Bauer. “The paint was faded, the air chamber was rusted, the fan didn’t work, the seed supply lines were all broken and the row units looked like they’d been planting on gravel roads.” It looked like it was ready for the scrap heap, but Bauer saw opportunity.
  He stripped the Cyclo unit, cleaned up the rust, and repaired the fan unit. The planter was set up for dry fertilizer, but he wanted liquid, so he pulled the dry tanks and replaced them with 2 fiberglass tanks that hold 125 gal. each. Supporting them is a rugged cradle frame that Bauer made out of tube steel.
  The markers were bent and broken so he replaced the old chain-type lift with dual acting hydraulic cylinders. In the up position, the markers are held against a metal plate cushioned by the spring from an old Farmall tractor seat.
  Bauer reinforced the cracked rockshaft in two places and added a second set of wheels to support the added weight of liquid fertilizer. He built a chain drive for the second wheel on the left side to provide additional support for the drive system. The duals provide extra flotation in some of his high organic peat ground.
  “What I’m most proud of on this planter are the seeding system, the platforms and the accuracy of how it plants,” says Bauer. Two pieces of ribbed stainless steel are mounted on top of the frame on both sides of the seed box. They provide a solid platform to stand and dump seed bags into the hopper. Bauer rebuilt the seed distribution chamber so it’s more accurate than most modern planters.
  “The old tubes were too small,” says Bauer, “so I replaced them with larger ones. With the larger tubes I can always use large round seed that flows through the tube very easily. The accuracy and singulation I get with this system has been equal to or better than my neighbor who’s got one of those new precision planters that cost more than $100,000.” Bauer figures he probably spent less than $1,000 to rebuild and reconfigure the old 400 Cyclo.
  Contact: FARM SHOW Followup, Mike Bauer, 12644 615th Ave., Mapleton, Minn. 56065 (ph 507 380-2447).

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2014 - Volume #38, Issue #6