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Tire Drag Chops Stalks
Old truck tires hooked together make nifty stalk choppers, according to Illinois farmers Willard and Joe Strullmeyer.
The father-son team used 20-in. truck tires to make a 40-ft. wide chopper. There are 12 tires in the front row of tires on the chopper and 11 tires at the rear. Each tire bolts to the tires around it with 1/2-in. bolts. The front row of tires is chained to a leveler pipe. A 3 by 3-in. steel plate reinforces each tire where it fastens to the leveler.
To chop stalks the Strullmeyers pull the tire rig over harvested fields at speeds of about 10 mph. "It works best in winter at 10 to 12? when the stalks are frozen and snap apart as the tires run over them. If you use it before the ground freezes, or in the spring, the tires dig into the dirt. It won't work," says Willard.
The Strullmeyers have been ridge-tilling for years and had been looking for a way to break up stalks without knocking down ridges. They got the idea by brain-storming with other ridge tillers. It worked so well several neighbors have built their own tire choppers.
"The tires last 2,000 to 3,000 acres. When the sidewalls on one side wear out, we just flip the whole chopper over and run on the other side," says Willard, noting that after chopping there's still a lot of residue left on top of ridges. But by spring, much of it has worked down into the valleys between ridges. "It does a great job. Better than anything on the market and it'll work as fast as you can travel. Requires only about a 65 hp tractor. We used truck tires because they're heavy and widely available."
Contact FARM SHOW Followup, Willard Strullmeyer, Rt. 2, Box 114, Farina, Ill. 62838 (ph 618 483-6000).

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1990 - Volume #14, Issue #3