How many of you go to the field with liquid fertilizer tanks or spray tanks on a semi-trailer in the spring? Many nods of the head just happened. How many find it hard lugging the hose full of fertilizer or water, especially fertilizer, because it weighs more per gallon, back and forth when it doesn't empty out on a fill –up. Imagine more heads nodding.
An Illinois farmer decided to do something about it. He built what he calls a Swinging-Arm Hose Derrick. Basically, the device made of hinged angle iron mounted to the supply truck and a support chain from the end of the angle iron to the top of the truck bed, lets him cradle the hose, in the angle iron, and swing it out to fill applicator tanks, and then return it to the truck. It was featured in the Spring 2011 edition of AgrAbility harvest, published for people with disabilities. An idea like this one, however, can help anyone who is trying to protect their back or prevent damage that will someday result in more back pain.
A second device, called a dual-tire changer, reduces the chance of back strain and saves time at the same time when you're mounting or dismounting duals from a tractor. The device slips over a loader bucket and is secured by a strap. The sophisticated device helps you get the tire in the right position for bolting on to the rim without much manual assistance from you or someone else on the ground. You can purchase this one from Westendorf Manufacturing, the loader people, for about $400 (price subject to change). Find out more about it at the company's Website. Visit: www.loaders.com.Finally, many people are using some variation of this third idea. It's simply bulk handling of seed. First popular with soybeans, it's now spreading to seed corn, especially amongst farmers who plant thousands of acres of corn. One of the most numerous new products at the 2011 farm Progress Show near Decatur, Ill. this year were new versions of seed tenders. Some hold bulk seed, more typically designed for soybeans. Others hold various shapes and sizes of boxes of seed. Those are becoming popular for both corn and soybeans. The first breakthrough in bulk for soybeans, the 2,000 pound or 50-unit cloth bag, is being phased out in favor of boxes since the boxes are easier and safer to move and store in most cases. You can find out about options for these devices form several manufacturers, including: Unverferth, at www.unverferth.com; Sudenga, at www.sudenga.com; and Remlinger, at www.remlingermfg.com. Cost can run from about $1,800 to fill up a gravity wagon to serve as the bulk carrier to more than $20,000 for self-contained, self-powered seed units designed just for this purpose.