Two farmer-invented solutions for seeding through muck and trash were recognized as top innovations for 2013
Call it the battle of the mud scrapers.
Two farmer-invented devices for keeping packer wheels from gumming up in adverse seeding conditions took home the top honours in the Inventor’s Showcase at Ag Days.
Winner of the 2013 Top Invention Award, Mark Devloo, said his father originally came up with the design for a rotating, cup-shaped mud scraper about three years ago.
“Mud on the tire makes it bigger and your seed starts coming out of the ground or going around the wheel, and you end up with your seed on top of the dirt instead of in the dirt,” said Devloo.
The Devloo Roto Mudscraper, made from a seven-inch steel disc that is formed into a cup shape on a hydraulic press, rotates a quarter-inch above each packer wheel on a 6203 bearing.
Installation method varies depending on the seeder model, but typically it involves a single bolt or u-bolt and a specific-shaped bracket.
With five times the surface area of a flat scraper, and the fact that it is constantly rotating means that it does a better job of keeping the wheels clean in wet, heavy gumbo.
“As soon as the mud touches it, it spins, so there’s nothing holding it back,” said Devloo, adding that after three seasons on their 2,600-acre farm near Somerset, the scrapers show virtually no wear.
Sales for the family-run manufacturing operation are booming, and the recent trade show in Saskatoon saw over 2,000 scrapers sold, he added.
“My father hasn’t started asking for royalties – yet,” said Mark.
The Devloo scrapers are currently available for Harriston Potato Planter, John Deere 730, K-Hart, Seed Hawk, Seed Master, Ezee On, and the 1820 John Deere with gang packers. The family is presently fabricating for Salford, Morris, Bourgault, Amitty, JD Conserva Pak, New Holland and the Cross Slot Seeder from New Zealand.
Runner-up was an all-weather gauge wheel design from South Dakota’s Pro Mags.
Consisting of a flat, knife-style scraper with a universal frame mount bracket that fits on the double disc in any position, it flips mud, trash, rocks and clods out of the furrow through extra-large holes in a specially designed wheel hub.
“It clears in between the rows and doesn’t leave anything for your closing wheel to have to fight through,” said Eric Hesla, vice-president, who added that the “active” cleaning system is the first of its kind.
The scraper and specialized wheel hub work under any conditions on planters or drills of any make in any conditions, including heavy cornstalk trash cover and weeds to wet, low spots in muddy fields.
The system was developed by Hesla’s father Ron on their 600-acre farm and has been in production for two years and is now selling outside the region in the Midwest and Canada.
“It started out as a project to make life easier for us, then the neighbours came over and said, ‘I don’t know what you have but I want it,’” said Hesla.