To the Point
To unplug silo fill pipes, I had been using 10' lengths of 1" PVC pipe, but the blunt ends of the pipe weren't able to break up the hardest packs. When wet alfalfa plugged the fill pipe, I added a spearlike point to the end of my pipe. The point came from a discarded tooth of a wheel rake. I bent the end to make a small hook, then welded on the point end of a file to form a harpoon. A couple rounds of duct tape secures the harpoon to my PVC pipe. This arm is more effective and safer than climbing the silo with a hammer to pound on the fill pipe.
Easy Auger Mover
To move augers around the farm, I call on my skid steer to do the grunt work. I welded a bracket at the appropriate height on the auger frame, and the front end of my skid steer locks in on three sides. It is especially helpful to move the augers with the skid steer when there is snow on the ground and the auger's wheels are harder to roll.
Saves Extra Steps
No more plugging connectors together with live power or running to the breaker box. To safely and easily control power to our augers, I made a portable disconnect box. Rebar is positioned together to make a four-legged stand, and an L-shape bracket is welded on top to form a chair. The shutoff box is welded to the back of the "chair" so it sits up high and the cords don't touch the ground. We used heavy-gauge electrical cord for wiring and included male and female outlets. A flip of a lever switches the box on and off. Sometimes I used to walk 20' to 50' just to switch off the auger. This saves a lot of steps.
Tired of dragging cords, Doug Burrer took the running out of running power to augers. He made a portable disconnect box stand with a single power switch in less than an hour with only $70 in materials. Doug recommends using a 60-amp fuse box because it has heavier contacts and will last longer. Doug grows corn, soybeans and wheat with his brother, Tom, and father, Corwin, in northern Ohio.
The Double Your Money winner receives $200. Other farmers featured receive $100 each. Share your unpublished ideas and join our $100 Ideas Club. Upon publication, you'll receive a hat and check. Send a description of your idea and a photo or sketch to: $100 Ideas, Farm Journal, P.O. Box 13018, Des Moines, IA 50310-0018, or e-mail $firstname.lastname@example.org. Include your address and phone number. All material published becomes the property of Farm Journal Media.