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Cleaner Wheels Create Perfect Seedbed
Kentucky farmer and inventor Howard Martin says he's learned a lot in the 7 years since he first came up with his idea for row cleaning wheels that clear and till the ground just ahead of seed opener discs on row crop planters.
"Even if you have a great idea it won't sell itself. You have to get out there and promote it," Martin says, adding that he has licensed his patented trash clearing devices to two companies - including Deere & Co. - and is also manufacturing the add-on trash wheels himself.
When Martin first got the idea he used cut-down rotary hoe wheels, attaching them to the frame of a Deere Max-Emerge planter directly ahead of the disc openers. The idea was to use the ground-driven wheels to pull trash out of the way of the row units and at the same time lightly till the soil, creating a clean tilled seedbed ready for planting. He refined the idea, eventually building wheels from scratch with pointed short tines. He started using the wheels on his own farm and went looking for a firm to market them.
It just so happened that one of Martin's neighbors is Eugene Keeton, one of the most successful farm inventors in the country. Keeton is the man who invented the finger pickup unit on Deere's Max-Emerge planter and recently struck gold again by coming up with anew brush-type seed meter for soybeans now being manufactured by Kinze Manufacturing. Through Keeton, Johnson got in touch with the right people at Deere and managed to work out a licensing agreement for his trash wheels. However, Deere never pushed the idea the way he liked and he eventually licensed the product to another manufacturer (Dawn Equipment Co. - featured in FARM SHOW's Vol. 15, No. 6) and started making them himself.
He says the trash-clearing idea looks deceptively simple but explains that it's critical that the two V-mounted wheels are positioned close to the seed opener disc. "That allows the seed disc to cut the residue while it's being stretched. Also, the teeth on the wheels must extend out past the planter gauge wheels so that residue isn't released too soon to fall back in front of the planter unit."
The teeth on each pair of wheels intersect to completely clean the zone ahead of the openers. Soil in the seed zone is worked to a depth of 1/2 in. so the seed discs aren't forced to open unloosened soil.
"These trash wheels eliminate row unit bounce by moving residue out of the way and clear off ridges without reducing their height," says Johnson.
The 15-in. dia. wheels are made out of 3/ 8-in. high-grade steel and mount on tapered bearings. An inner shield is designed to stop wrapping even in tall cover crops.
Contact: FARM SHOW Followup, Howard Martin, Kentucky Farms Inc., 169 Allegre Road, Elkton, Kent. 42220 (ph 502 265-5817 or 800 366-5817).

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1992 - Volume #16, Issue #2