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Thin-Wheeled Buggy Cuts Across Bean Rows
You've never seen a bean buggy like this thin-wheeled buggy built by Ralph West, Kokomo, Lid., who wanted a machine that would let him "walk" crossways through bean rows - traveling in any direction - without doing damage.
West raises soybean seed so he wanted his fields as clean as possible. The problem with most bean buggies, he says, is that they had to run the full length of the row before they could be turned around to get at weeds in adjoining rows.
When West first got the idea for a thin-wheeled bean buggy, he asked an Amish neighbor to run his horse and buggy back and forth through one of his bean fields. After the buggy was gone, he checked the field and found almost no damage. The narrow wheels simply passed through the rows.
To build the wheels, West went to a Amish buggy repair shop and had 36-in. dia. rims rolled. He welded dish centers made of 11 ga. steel to the rims and made them convex shaped by screwing a piece of threaded rod into the center of them to push them apart. Once the wheels were formed he took them back to the shop to have rubber tires put on the rims.
"I originally wanted to use regular buggy wheels but the bearings in them weren't heavy enough. These wheels work perfectly because they're strong yet small enough to slip through the crop with almost no visible damage. They've got good traction, too. I've had no trouble in slick or muddy conditions," West told FARM SHOW, adding that he's run the machine through beans as tall as waist-high with no problem. A slender crop divider made out of steel rod is mounted just ahead of each wheel to help part the crop.
The 3-wheeled, 6-ft. wide buggy is de-signed to straddle 3 18-in. rows. It turns in a 12-ft. radius and the operator steers it with his feet. Power is provided by an 18-hp. twin cylinder Briggs & Stratton motor (West says a 5 hp. motor probably would have provided enough power) driving a garden tractor rear end and a VW transaxle that chain-drives both rear wheels, mounted on VW hubs and brakes. The buggy's fitted with a centrifugal clutch and a hand throttle. West says when he's spot spraying, he holds a spray wand in one hand and the throttle in the other.
The buggy's fitted with a 2.5 gal. spray tank and a 12-volt electric spray pump. West can cover 50 acres a day with the rig. He raises 130 acres of seed beans in narrow 18-in. rows.
Contact FARM SHOW Followup, Ralph West, 6035 East & 300 North, Kokomo, Ind. 46901 (ph 317 628-3573).

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1989 - Volume #13, Issue #4