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Easy On Soil, Power Weeder Is Hard On Weeds
David Greenberg’s Crop Hopper is a self-propelled “plant caretaker”. The lightweight machine produces minimal compaction, while the narrow wheels have little impact on vegetation in the rows. Equipped with its homemade Reggie-style weeder heads, it can stir the soil from 1/2 to 2 in. deep. Equipped with discs, it can hill rows quickly. A high-clearance compost/harvest cart adds to the machine’s versatility.
  “It only does one row at a time, but it is very thorough,” says Greenberg. “It can be as aggressive as you want. It can just kiss the surface or send the weeds flying with no soil left on the roots.”
  The Crop Hopper was first featured on farmhack.com, an online community of FARM SHOW-type inventors and tinkerers. Projects featured are licensed under Creative Commons, allowing anyone to use, duplicate or improve on designs.
  Greenberg worked with Ari Herel, a local engineer and fabricator, to fashion the self-propelled cultivator from a 19 hp. Kubota zero-turn lawn mower. The engine, wheels, and rear drive axle are mounted to a 2 by 2-in. steel tubing frame. The front axle with caster wheels is attached to the front at a central pivoting point.
  A hydraulic pump was fitted to the output shaft that previously powered the mower deck. It now drives a hydraulic wheel motor connected to the twin weeder heads.
  The 9-in. dia. heads each hold 6 hay pickup tines. The 2 heads are mounted on a parallel pickup arm for vertical positioning with the touch of a finger. Left/right movement is controlled by arms in front of the operator, while foot pedals control speed and steering of the machine.
  “It is slower than cultivating 3 or 4 rows at once,” admits Greenberg. “However, it is much more responsive. Even doing one row at a time, I can cultivate half an acre in 45 min. and have a beautiful weed-free crop.”
  He says the Crop Hopper has excellent traction, uses little fuel, and is a lot of fun to operate.
  The rig has rack and pinion power steering for the front wheels and hydraulic fluid metering for steering of the rear wheels. It also has a bench seat with the steering wheel on the left so one person can steer while a second person controls the weeders.
  “It has a toggle switch that lets the operator bypass the steering wheel and steer with his feet while controlling the weeding heads with his hands,” says Greenberg. “Like the original, it has a 3-pt. hitch, sweeps to take out wheel tracks, and a rod weeder for the small band between rows.”
  The new weeder has 2 by 4-in. steel tubular framing with a 60-in. width. This lets it straddle two 30-in. rows. The 22 hp. Kohler is a larger engine.
  Contact: FARM SHOW Followup, David Greenberg, 182 Red Bank Rd.,
Centre Burlington, N. S., Canada B0N 1E0 (ph 902 757-1640; davidgreenberg71@gmail.com; www.abundant-acres.com; www.farmhack.org/tools/crop-hopper).

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2017 - Volume #41, Issue #5