The winter time is great for working on the equipment that we will be relying on during the upcoming growing season. Don't get me wrong, winter is also fun for ice fishing, snowmobiling, skiing, etc. But today, Elizabeth was focused on EMT training in front of the computer, so I did a little bit of handy-work on the cart. I took pictures as I went through the process so I'll post those as I explain what I did. My main problem with the cart is that the fertilizer delivery pipes are getting worn out. I removed the pipe manifold and will begin replacing the pipes tomorrow. So, here we go!
Here is the cart:
The cart hooks up behind the tractor and the strip till tool hooks up to the back of the cart. There are two bins inside the cart. That is where we put the dry fertilizer. I crawled to the top and took a picture up there:
Here's a closer look inside the cart:
It is hard to see in the above picture, but at the bottom of each hopper is a metering roller which spins and regulates how much product is being put down. Here's a look at the bottom of the tank to see where the fertilizer comes out :
The metering roller is right above the slots in the above picture. Normally we wouldn't be able to see this because the air manifold would be right below the tank. I'll show a picture of that shortly. As the fertilizer drops out of the tank, how does it get through the hoses and into the ground? If you said "air", you are correct! There is a fan that runs on the front of the tank:
That fan is hydraulically driven. It provides constant airflow to push the fertilizer to the strip till tool to get it in the ground. And with our machine, the meters turn at variable speeds because we use fertilizer prescriptions for our fields. The prescriptions are loaded into the monitor which is located in the tractor, but the information is transmitted to control modules which are connected to each meter roller.
You can see in the above picture the control modules, the electric motors that control the meter speed, and all the wires! The technology we use has really increased within the past 10 years. Everything you've seen so far works very well but the air manifold, which I haven't shown you yet, is the problem that I'm working to fix. Here it is on a table:
Certain types of fertilizer can be quite corrosive. That is what happened here. The manifold pipes are starting to rust which will cause us to lose fertilizer and reduce air pressure from the fan. I may be able to find a muffler shop that can bend pipe for me, or I might have to buy the parts from our local Case IH dealer. Either way, this cart should be running in tip top shape this coming spring. Oh, and one more thing....thanks for reading this update. We're keeping an eye on you too!