1986 - Volume #10, Issue #2, Page #26[ Sample Stories From This Issue | List of All Stories In This Issue | Print this story | Read this issue]
Inventor Larry Rauenhorst, Olivia, Minn. came up with the idea as a way to work through heavy ridge-till surface trash with the least possible cultivator weight. He notes that conventional cultivators require as much as 800 lbs. of down pressure to maintain penetration. Rauenhorst's new design uses two coulters which run near the row where soil is softer and there's little residue. In field tests he has been able to maintain penetration with less than 400 lb. of down pressure per row.
"It does a much better job killing weeds than conventional sweep cultivators, which bury weeds. Everyone who's seen it work says it moves through the field like magic," says Rauenhorst.
The new-style cultivator is set up so that the roiling coulter provides the lead cutting edge. It cuts through trash, running as close to the row as possible, both stabilizing the cultivator and shielding the row. The tip of the trailing 13-in. wide half-sweep is positioned right behind the coulter, mounted on a ¢ by 4-in. shank. The sweep is canted for a 25? "angle of attack" to the ground and runs 1 to 2 in. deep.
"You can pull it fast at 6 to 10 mph without getting any dirt in the row, thanks to the coulter which acts as a shield. The sweeps "fluff up" the ground between rows, slicing off weeds but not burying them," Rauenhorst explains.
An 8-row, 30-in. model is set up with space that's adjustable from 6 to 16 in. between coulters for the row and there's 1 in. or more of overlap at the tail ends of the sweeps. Rauenhorst equips his cultivating tractor with mono-rib front tractor tires which follow a groove left by a shovel that was mounted on the planter.
Rauenhorst, who also invented a ridge-till plant system that was the first on the market to use slanted tilt wheels to hug the top of the ridge, says his new cultivator works well under all conditions. "It particularly shines under tough trashy high residue conditions with big perennial weeds and it easily penetrates hard surfaces. It dramatically reduces the problem of 'slabbing', which occurs with some big-sweep cultivators, because each half-sweep lifts up only a thin slice of soil. A 6-in. sweep, equipped with ridging wings, trails behind pushing loosened soil to the sides."
Rauenhorst did 4,000 acres last year with two prototype 8-row cultivators and says the half-sweeps outlast conventional sweeps.
K & M Manufacturing, Renville, Minn., has taken over production of the cultivator and limited number will be available this year.
For more information, contact: FARM SHOW Followup, K & M Mfg., Box 409, Renville, Minn. 56284 (ph toll free 800 328-1752; in Minn., call 800 992-1702).
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