[Market-farming] root digger implement options

Mike Brabo mdbrabo at att.net
Sun Aug 19 07:24:09 EDT 2012


After years of back breaking hand digging we switched to an old fashioned potato plow harvester.  We pull it behind a JD755 4WD 20hp tractor's 3pt hitch and it works great.  It takes a few minutes to set up and get your "angle" and speed just right.  

Here's the link to the manufacturer:  http://www.farmingwithhorses.com/three-point-attachments

Vesterbrook Farm - Certified Naturally Grown
Clarksville, Missouri - Mississippi River Bluffs, Zone 5b-6a

On Aug 18, 2012, at 9:34 PM, KAKerby at aol.com wrote:

> We are considering expanding our root crops next year, for livestock feeding purposes.  When I say "root crops" I generally mean potatoes, mangels, rutabagas, parsnips and/or large turnips.  Maybe some of the larger carrot varieties, but these will definitely be for livestock feed, not for market.  So "pretty" isn't important.  But harvesting them quickly and cost-effectively is very important.
> The last time I planted potatoes, I spent what seemed like the next three years manually harvesting them.  The first harvest was to get them out of the ground that October, and it seemed to take forever.  But we had volunteers coming up for several years later, which tells me that I really didn't do a good job digging them up manually.  It was such a distasteful job the first time around I swore I'd never grow them again other than for occasional home use.  But now here we are, thinking how nice it would be to be able to grow them on a larger scale, IF we can figure out how to harvest them more effectively.
> I Googled "potato digger" and got a wide variety of implements, ranging from black-and-white photos of what Grandpa used "back in the  day", to shiny new looks-about-the-right-size imported from China, to industrial-sized monsters that could eat my house.  I'm looking for an implement that will efficiently harvest a wide variety of root crops, be small enough to pull behind a 20hp tractor with Class 1 three-pt hitch, large enough to comfortably harvest a few acres of any given kind of root crop, without costing the amount of a small country's yearly operating budget.  Oh, and since we're fantasizing here, it should be readily available on the used market for not-very-much-money, with easy-to-find replacement parts, and be simple enough that we can service in our own workshop or hire a local skilled mechanic, rather than exporting it back to whatever was its distant country-of-origin for repairs.
> Any suggestions as to make/model/manufacturer?  And if my fantasy machine doesn't exist, what are my options from amongst the tools that do exist?  Thanks all.......
> Kathryn Kerby
> frogchorusfarm.com
> Snohomish, WA
> Ruminations - essays on the farming life at frogchorusfarm.com/weblog.html
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