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Water Heater Makes Great Crop Roller
Dryland camelina can be tough to grow, but rolling the broadcast seed helps. Jeff Hoard rolls his with a repurposed water heater tank.
“I grow dryland camelina for a high protein hay,” says Hoard. “However, even with shallow tillage, drilled camelina can have trouble breaking through the crust that forms on my soils. If I broadcast it and roll it, I get better emergence.”
Hoard saw no reason to buy a roller for his small acreage of camelina when an old water heater tank could do the job. The 4-ft. tall tank with a flue running up the center was a natural fit for an axle. Should he need more weight, he could simply fill it with water.
“It was a simple fabrication, requiring only the axle and a hitch,” says Hoard. “I used 2 large washers that fit the diameter of the flue and matched an axle to the hole in the washer. I welded a couple pieces of pipe together for a hitch.”
A short piece of pvc pipe serves as a bushing around the axle, and holes through the pipe and the pvc allow for lubrication when needed. The remainder of the hitch is also salvaged pipe. The hitch tongue can be hooked to Hoard’s small, homemade tractor or to an ATV, depending on the size of the area to be rolled.
“It can also accept a handle if I want to press a small area by hand,” adds Hoard. “The 4-ft. width of the roller makes for good contact with the soil as it doesn’t hit many high points. Surprisingly, I can cover a lot of ground in a short time.”
Hoard describes himself as a creative scrounger with a decent scrap pile and credits FARM SHOW for much of his inspiration. “It’s my favorite publication,” he says. “Like a lot of my projects (16 described in previous FARM SHOW issues), the roller cost me nothing except for some welding rod.”
Contact: FARM SHOW Followup, HM Ranch, HC 61, Box 6108, Austin, Nevada 89310 (ph 775 217-9264 or 775 427-6515; hmfgranch@gmail.com; www.hmranch-hoardmfg.com).

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2021 - Volume #45, Issue #4