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Potato Digger Rides On Lawn Mower Wheels
“The smaller potato diggers I found online were 3-pt. models that mounted on a tractor pto, which wouldn’t work for me, so I built a pull-type model myself,” says Dexter Brahn, retired from 35 years in farm equipment manufacturing. Brahn’s digger works on the same principle as those commercial models, but his rides on four wheels and is powered by a 3-hp. motor that he bought from Harbor Freight. “I geared the motor down with a pulley system, so it’d run the digging pan and shaker at a slow speed,” Brahn says.
    Brahn made the frame out of assorted scrap steel that he cut, formed, and welded together, using reinforcing cross members for added strength. The frame forms a V in the front with a pole hitch extending beyond that he hooks to his zero-turn lawnmower. It rides on four old zero-turn mower wheels spaced 38 in. apart in the back and about 20 in. apart in the front.
    “My machine is about 2 ft. wide with a digging pan that gets bumped up and down by a reciprocating pulley,” Brahn says. “The motor also runs the shaker tines that remove dirt from the potatoes.”
    Brahn pulls the machine behind his Dixon zero-turn mower, straddling a row of potatoes. “The machine works great,” he says, “but my rows were too close together, so on the second pass, one of the mower drive wheels was slipping in loose dirt. I had to pack that down so the mower could get traction. ”
    Brahn sold his digger at a consignment auction in August 2023. “I was only growing a few hills of potatoes and thought someone else could get more use from it than I was. Turns out the person who bought it was very happy to get it. He told me he was planning to build something like it, and now he didn’t have to. I told him it worked well and that I didn’t put a whole lot of time into building it. I bought the motor, a few pulleys, and a few bolts, but it doesn’t have a warranty.”
    Contact: FARM SHOW Followup, Dexter Brahn, 1324 220th St., Ionia, Iowa 50645.

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2023 - Volume #47, Issue #6