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Pedaled Crop Cart Makes Picking Easy
"It has the most comfortable seat I've ever sat in," says Karen Upper of the low riding, pedal-powered Crop Cart introduced to vegetable growers this summer.
"It's a really great thing for weeding and harvesting crops," says Upper, who's president of the Wisconsin Fresh Vegetable Growers Association.
The Crop Cart - the only one of its kind made in the U.S. - is the brainchild of Rusty Leffingwell, Fairbury, Ill.
"The whole secret to the Crop Cart is the seat," says Leffingwell. "When the operator is sitting so low, leaning over and picking vegetables, the seat has to move right along with him or her to reduce fatigue. That was the biggest challenge of designing the cart - and it's the most ex-pensive component of it."
To get the seat to tilt as the operator leans to pick vegetables, Leffingwell devised a three-piece swivel. One piece is mounted underneath the seat and two pieces are mounted on the frame. To get the seat to return to an upright position as picked vegetables are deposited into the cart's picking trays, Leffingwell mounted compression springs out of an old 6-cyl. Chevy engine underneath each side of the seat. (Four springs come with the cart; two can be re-moved for lighter operators).
For added comfort, the seat also features flanges on either side that wrap around the rib cage. That's so the operator's not leaning with easily fatigued stomach muscles.
"You can work comfortably in that seat for eight hours," Leffingwell claims. Growers say their efficiency increases by as much as 50%, he adds.
As vegetables or fruit is picked, it's placed in picking trays or loading racks , one on each side of the operator. Racks are adjustable front to back to accommodate varying arm spans of operators, and height is adjustable as well. As loading trays get full, vegetables are moved onto a 24-in. wide by 32-in long carrying tray over the front wheel.
The wheelbase is 72-in. long. Rear wheels can be adjusted from widths of 60 in. to 90 in. to accommodate a wide variety of row spacings. Height is adjustable from 21 in. to 34 in.
Price of the Crop Cart is $850.
By January, Leffingwell expects to be marketing two powered models that will have a 11/2-ft. longer wheelbase than the pedal cart..
Contact: FARM SHOW Followup, Rusty Leffingwell, Rusty's Ag Sales and Manufacturing, 412 N. 7th St., Fairbury, Ill. 61739-1341 (ph 800 373-2809).

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1994 - Volume #18, Issue #6