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Aerator built of old rotary mower
British dairy farmer Mike Donovan, who farms in Wales, depends on his pastures to provide grazing in summer and haylage in winter. But compaction from heavy equipment and grazing cattle was hurting production so he decided to come up with a new way to rejuvenate the fields through aeration. He built an innovative 8-ft. machine out of an old Vicon rotary mower-conditioner.
Donovan says the basic idea would probably work with other mower-conditioners as well. "I removed the cutting bed entirely and both of the rubber conditioning rollers. I remounted the driven roller, which is a 6-sided bar made out of heavy material, across the base of the machine, reusing the bearing on one end but buying a new bearing for the other end of the roller, which was originally driven by the gearbox.
"I mounted 48 flat 7-in. long tempered steel tines on the roller, which I bought from a cultivator manufacturer. The tines are positioned in groups of 4 about 8 in. apart. Each group is fixed at a half angle to its neighbor so the tines look like they form a spiral.
"The base of each tine needed to be reshaped with an oxy cutter and then they were welded in place at a slight angle to make a slit in the soil slightly wider than the tine.
"I repositioned the drawbar in the center, re angling it so it sits higher on the frame, and braced the frame with 2 by 2-in. box steel across the back and 2-in. flat plate steel for bracing. I also made some small skids to mount on each side. The high angle of the tongue pushes the tines downward when working. Extra weight is added under dry conditions. I plan to add a 40-gal. chemical drum to the top of the machine which I can fill with water.
"The tines go in about 5 in., leaving a neat slot about 5 in. long with the grass slightly raised around each hole. If I did it again I'd mount the tines with a slight toe-in towards center (no more than 15?) because that would make their action more vigorous without damaging the pasture. If the tines wear down, I can simply buy more and weld them onto the sides of the originals."
Contact: FARM SHOW Followup, Mike Donovan, Castell Draenog, Llanboidy, Whitland, Dyfed SA34 OES United Kingdom (ph 0994 48315).

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1991 - Volume #15, Issue #6