Build Yourself A Low-Cost Field Cultivator

The price tags on new field cultivators prompted Stefan Steiner, Thurso, Quebec, to design and build his own 22-ft. model from scratch, equipping the heavy-built rig with tandem rolling baskets.

"It cost less and works just as good as commercial field cultivators," says Steiner. "Everything I used to build it was new, except for the hubs, wheels, and tires, which I borrowed from an old New Holland forage harvester and an old International pull-type combine. Most commercial models are built from 2-in. sq. tubing and have welds that eventually crack or break. I used 3-in. tubing and double or triple welded everything. I've used it for a year and I can't see any wear at all."

The home-built rig is equipped with five rows of S-tine shanks (55 in all, one every four inches) equipped with 2 1/2-in. wide "goosefoot" sweeps that Steinerbought from a Deere dealer. The frame has a 12-ft. wide center section and 5-ft. wings. He built three hinges for each wing out of 1/2 by 3-in. flat iron and a 1-in. dia. shaft. Each of the four wheels is fitted with an 8-in. hydraulic depth control cylinder. To ensure stability, the two center wheels are joined by a shaft made out of 4-in. dia. steel pipe. He used two 10-ft. lengths of 3 by 5-in. rectangular steel tubing to build the hitch which can be adjusted to match any tractor drawbar hitch. The wings are raised or lowered by a pair of 24-in. cylinders.

Steiner built the tandem rolling baskets in five 4-ft. wide sections, using lengths of steel re-bar mounted on 7-in. dia., 1/4-in. thick steel plates spaced 12 in. apart. The rebar is welded into notches that Steiner cut around each plate. A 1-in. dia. steel shaft runs through the center of the plates and is held in place by a bearing on each end.

"I've never used a commercial unit this big but I can't believe they would work any better than mine," says Steiner.