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“Made It Myself” Powered Carts Make Horse Farming Easier
Preparing 15 to 20 acres a day of rock-filled clay soil for planting with an 8 1/2-ft. rototiller may not seem like a big accomplishment in this era of mammoth horsepower tractors. But when it’s done by 4 draft horses it’s quite an achievement. One that wouldn’t be possible without his custom-built power forecarts, says Jason Julian. The carts have engines that power modern implements, reducing the workload on the horses and allowing them to cover more ground.
  Julian and his wife Katrina own an organic 60-cow dairy and farm 225 acres near Medford, Wis. They started farming in 1996. In 2005 they switched to mixed power farming, using horses for the majority of the work and a leased 4-WD loader tractor for the remaining work. During the winter, the Julians’ 9 Brabant/American Belgian cross horses are used for hauling logs as part of Jason’s Legacy Horse Logging business.
  Specialty equipment such as logging arches, hydraulic forwarders, and power forecarts make logging and farming economically feasible.
  “The carts allow my horses to do a lot more work. It’s a force multiplier and opens up options to use modern machinery and larger manure spreaders,” Julian says.
  He credits mechanic and fabricator Dave Rodencal, owner of Interwald Repair, with transforming his design ideas into his first two carts.
  The first cart was a 70 hp Leyland tractor engine mounted on a shortened wagon running gear. It had a belt drive with a tensioner and worked well most of the time. However, it was underpowered for the silo filler and it slipped belts. By using it, Julian learned what features he wanted, and Rodencal designed and built a “more power” version.
  The second forecart has a 115 hp, 3.9-liter turbocharged, inner-cooled Cummins diesel engine, mounted on 1-ton Ford truck axles butt-welded together.
  “The improvements were that the engine faces forward (so no chaff from a baler plugs the radiator) and a Tayloria pto clutch that bolts directly to the engine eliminating the belt,” Julian says.
  Built so the wheels fit between 30-in. rows, the unit also has dual pto ratios, 540 or 1,000, depending on what it is running. With more power it can easily run a corn chopper; a 3,000-lb., 8 1/2-ft. Maschio rototiller with two chisel plow shanks Julian controls with hydraulics; and operate equipment that blows silage and grinds and blows ear corn. It also has a 3-pt. hitch, 2 receiver hitches and a detachable tongue that can be moved to drive even or odd numbers of horses and be centered or offset.
  It cost about $6,000 to build 5 years ago compared to a manufactured version that runs more than $20,000, Julian says. He uses the grey cart often, but at 3,000 lbs. “it was overkill for a lot of jobs” and he had sold his first cart.
  He built his newest cart for about $5,000, three years ago. Built on a frame he made of 2 by 8-in. tube iron, the red cart weighs about 1,500 lbs. It has a 35 hp Yanmar diesel engine that was salvaged from a semi’s refrigerated trailer.
  “It has four wheels but acts like a two-wheel cart,” Julian says. He explains that the back wheels have brakes and hydraulic steering and the front has dolly wheels from a self-propelled haybine. They provide balance and stability, take the tongue weight off the horses, and make turning easier.
  “The disadvantage is that with the extremely short wheelbase the ride is rough,” Julian says. “The advantage is that it’s nimble and lighter.”
  It works well for cutting and round baling hay and running 225-bu., pto-powered manure spreaders. He notes that he can do more work with less horsepower because the cart just has to run the pto for the implements. The horses provide the pulling power.
  “We can bale for two or three afternoons on 9 gal. of fuel,” he says.
  Mixed farming - using a tractor for loading and plowing, and horses for the rest of the work - is not for everyone, but the economics and quality of life for their family suits the Julians. Katrina helps Jason with the work. For example, Katrina operates the tractor to load manure into two manure spreaders hooked up to two teams. The horses have a chance to rest as Jason alternates between the teams to spread manure, and they can move 20 loads of manure a day between dairy chores.
  “Horse farming is a progression,” Julian says, and the couple has learned lessons along the way.
  Power forecarts make it feasible to run a successful farming operation with horses, but the driver needs to earn each horse’s trust before he can start up a noisy diesel engine for the horse to pull. Because of that, Julian is a fan of the Brabant crosses because of their gentle disposition. He shares his knowledge and practices through media such as Rural Heritage magazine. The website, www.ruralheritage.com, includes videos of him farming with his horses.
  Contact: FARM SHOW Followup, Jason and Katrina Julian, Legacy Horse Logging, W1725 Faber Lane, Medford, Wis. 54451 (ph 715 748-4606; jasonkatrinajulian@gmail.com).

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2016 - Volume #40, Issue #2