Growing a specialty crop can require special machinery. Steve Conrad farms in Webbers Falls, Okla., and when it comes to harvesting his spinach crop the best machine for the job was sourced from their farm shop.
Farm manager Kenny Cole came up with the design to convert a John Deere self-propelled cotton picker into a spinach harvesting machine.
"We stripped the head off, the basket off, stripping everything off we didn't need,” explains Conrad. "And then we mounted a swather head to the front. With a series of hydraulics and belts, this crop is conveyed up into the buggy that drives next to the cutter while in the field.”
The self-built machine not only saves time (they went from cutting one bed to three beds at one time), but their previously used pull-type machine's tractor would kick up dust and increase the debris in the harvested spinach.
Conrad farms 2,000 acres, 300 of which are spinach, in eastern Oklahoma.