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Small Farmer's Journal
PO Box 1627
Sisters, Oregon 97759
800-876-2893
541-549-2064
agrarian@smallfarmersjournal.com
Mon - Thu, 8am - 4pm PST

Homemade Ground-Drive PTO Forecart

Homemade Ground-Drive PTO Forecart

Homemade Ground-Drive PTO Forecart

by Ken Gies of Fort Plain, NY

Editor’s Note: Genius pure genius – and elegant to boot. Here’s another clear bit of evidence that our future with the working animals is as bright as we choose to make it. Thanks and kudos to you Ken. LRM

I begin with apologies to Basil Scarberry. I can in no way equal his craftsmanship as seen in his ground drive pto forecart found in Winter 2005 SFJ, on page 30. My intention is to discuss finding a good ratio for the pto shaft. I also want you to avoid some of the mistakes I made. So let’s look at my rather crude differential based cart. It has worked well for me since 2003.

As we start, consider a few things when building a pto cart. Are big drive tires necessary? Is a lot of weight needed? What is cheapest? What is least complicated? Are replacement parts still available? What do you want to power with the cart? Will it take more than two horses? Will the pto need to run in slippery conditions? Hydraulics? Brakes? Lights? Will ground clearance matter? Does the width matter? Imagine the cart in use. Try to see it working where you normally go and where you almost never go. Will it be safe and easy to mount or dismount? Can you access the controls of the implement conveniently? Is it easy to hook and unhook? Where is the balance point? I’m sure you will think of other details as you daydream about it.

Homemade Ground-Drive PTO Forecart

I built my cart for two Haflinger ponies, but the tongue extends for full sized horses. I use three ponies on it occasionally, but still prefer using two. It is fifty-four inches wide with thirteen-inch highway tires on it. It has about eight inches of clearance underneath. Hay snags when I triple up windrows and straddle them, but I manage. It has no brakes, lights or hydraulics, but then again, I have yet to need them. It is easy to unhook. It runs my tedder nicely. I also use it to pull my manure spreader, hay rake, and sometimes a wagon.

Homemade Ground-Drive PTO Forecart

When you find a good differential, figure out what size of tires you will put on it. In order to get the pto speed right, the tires you will use should be on it. Many people think that bigger tires will give them more torque at the output shaft. There may be some gain because of traction increase, but the drive ratio will have a far greater effect on the performance of the cart. A good example is a #9 mower. The wheels are not that big, about 32” tall, but they still run the cutter bar adequately. I have seen some mowers with seven-foot bars doing a fine job. Normal 235-75R-15 light truck tires are between 26 and 28 inches tall. I think that for most applications this size is adequate. Differentials in this size range are not too heavy or wide, are readily available, and are repairable if a bearing ever goes. It is easy to rig up brakes too. I also know that tractor-style traction tires are available for 14, 15 and 16 inch rims should you really need them. If you intend to run a baler, you need more horses and an increase in traction through weight and improved/bigger tires. Which direction is the pinion shaft turning? Will it need to face front or back to turn the jackshaft in the right direction? Once all this is determined, then you can figure out the drive ratio to get the pto up to speed.

Homemade Ground-Drive PTO Forecart

Just a note on balers; some brands of balers need to run at a certain number of plunger strokes per minute. I worked as an ag mechanic for a year or so and “fixed” several balers that were having plunger problems and breaking shear bolts because the machine was operated at the wrong rpm. Check the baler manual before you get too far into this project if baling is part of your plan.

Homemade Ground-Drive PTO Forecart

I am not a mathematician. It took me a long time to figure out the final speed of the pto shaft. The number I wanted to find was how many revolutions the pto shaft needed to make over a given distance to get the equivalent of 540 rpm at horse speeds. Here is my attempt at the math. First, I took the speed that a good team moves. (This will be the basis for all calculations. If the ground speed differed significantly, a new value would have to be computed using similar messy math.) The average speed that many people use for horses is 2.5 miles per hour. The distance in a mile is 5,280 feet. Multiply the two numbers: 2.5 x 5,280 = 13,200 feet per hour. I reduced the feet per hour to feet per minute by dividing by 60: 13,200 / 60 = 220 feet per minute. Now I had common time units. I divided the revolutions per minute by the feet per minute to get how many revolutions per foot I needed at 2.5 mph to get 540 rpm: 540 rpm / 220 fpm = 2.45 revolutions per foot. I used 245 revolutions per 100 feet for figuring because a 100 ft tape is easy to obtain and it is not an extreme distance to push a differential. Remember that number, 245.

Homemade Ground-Drive PTO Forecart

When I first got my differential, I had two of my kids push it while I counted the number of revolutions the pinion shaft made in 100 feet. My differential pinion shaft turns 64 times per 100 feet. In order to get it up to the equivalent of 540 rpm I should increase the rpm four times: 245 / 64 = 3.8.

When using pulleys, sprockets, or gears there a few simple ways to figure out what you need. First, to increase the speed of a machine, place the larger pulley on the powered shaft. To reduce speed, mount the larger pulley on the driven shaft. Calculate speed increase or decrease by measuring the diameter of the pulleys. Place the powered pulley’s diameter over top of the driven pulley’s diameter in a fraction and solve it as a decimal number. Multiply that number by the revolutions per hundred feet on the pinion shaft of your differential. This should give you the change in rpm.

Homemade Ground-Drive PTO Forecart

On my cart, the actual increase in revolutions is only 2.25, increasing the 64 revolutions per 100 feet to 144 revolutions per 100 feet, about 320 rpm. 144 / 245 x 540 = 317.38. I derived the value 2.25 from the ratio of my pulleys. The larger pulley, 9 inches in diameter, goes on the pinion shaft. The smaller one is 4 inches in diameter and mounts on the jackshaft. (I used what sizes I had handy.) 9 /4 = 2.25. My tedder runs just fine. In fact, I use the low-speed setting on the tedder gearbox because the high-speed setting is too aggressive!

I read that a certain brand of tractor-type sickle bar mower would cut well up to about 6 mph. Being curious, I calculated the revolutions per foot. 6 mph computes into 528 feet per minute. 528 fpm / 540 rpm… using sloppy math this works out to be close to one revolution per foot of travel! Realistically, I could run that type of mower at typical horse working speeds at less than half of the recommended pto speed and still get the correct number of revolutions per foot. In fact, Jake Blank, from I & J Manufacturing, told me that one of their pto carts only runs about 300 rpm. I watched it power a sickle bar quite well. The slower the ground speed, the slower the pto can turn for certain applications. This holds true for tedders and mowers. It may not hold true for balers or manure spreaders, which generally need a fast pto to work effectively. (Jake may argue that point based on his experience.)

Homemade Ground-Drive PTO Forecart

My pinion shaft turns clockwise as you look at it. This is the correct direction for a pto. I mounted the pinion shaft facing the rear of the cart. If it rotates opposite, that is counter clockwise, it must face forward and feed the jackshaft over the differential to produce the correct rotation.

I mounted my drive pulley directly into the holes that the u-bolts mated with on the pinion shaft plate. I drilled holes into the pulley to match the plate and bolted them with 3/8 inch bolts. The smaller pulley caused me a bit more grief. I used a taper lock collar and ground in a crude notch for the square key. I bought a pto adapter and welded it onto a four-inch length of pipe that fit my jackshaft closely. Then I cut slits in the pipe. I drilled a half-inch hole through the pipe and shaft, and then bolted it very tight so the pto spline wouldn’t wobble on the jackshaft.

Homemade Ground-Drive PTO Forecart

I made two mistakes on my pto cart. I set the pto shaft too far toward the hitch pin hole. On a tractor, the pto is set away from the hitch pin hole. Measure a tractor and get the setback right. I cut my tedder pto shaft shorter to allow for the mistake. The mower I used worked without shortening the pto. I also got the balance point too far forward. I should have bolted the seat further to the rear to lighten the tongue more. With the manure spreader attached, it floats okay because of the spreader tongue-weight when loaded.

Homemade Ground-Drive PTO Forecart

I intended to install a lever-action belt tensioner, but never got around to it. The screw jack works and I have not been motivated to make the upgrade. The twin belt pulleys don’t slip under a heavy load even with the little tires and light weight. Sometimes I will run the belts a bit loose so that they slip on purpose if I am tedding over a rough piece of ground. The belts are quiet too. Often all I hear is a gentle swishing as I ted. The only thing quieter is the hay rake.

Homemade Ground-Drive PTO Forecart

The platform is an angle iron rectangle welded onto the spring blocks. Everything else mounts onto it based on what I had, and where it would fit. The hinge that holds the jackshaft has a pin welded onto the right rear corner of the frame. The screw jack bolts loosely to the other side on top and the frame on the bottom. The tongue socket is welded to the underside of the leading edge of the floor frame and a cross piece just in front of the differential. The seat stem bolts into the tongue socket. I used two inch square tubing for the tongue itself. It is stronger than the two-inch pipe I started with. I think that every machine should have a front guardrail. Mine is half-inch silo rods and a piece of one-inch pipe. I built this whole machine with a hacksaw, file, drill, and small 110v wire feed welder. Someone told me “If YOU can build it, ANYONE can!” He also brought me down to earth with, “It ain’t rocket science.” What a friend…. I hope that you can have the same satisfaction that I have by building and using a functioning pto cart out of the treasures in your scrounge heap.

Homemade Ground-Drive PTO Forecart

Spotlight On: Livestock

The Milk and Human Kindness Part 1

The Milk and Human Kindness

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from issue:

I know what it’s like to be trying to find one’s way learning skills without a much needed teacher or experienced advisor. I made a lot of cheese for the pigs and chickens in the beginning and shed many a tear. I want you to know that the skills you will need are within your reach, and that I will spell it all out for you as best I can. I hope it’s the next best thing to welcoming you personally at my kitchen door and actually getting to work together.

Horseshoeing Part 4B

Horseshoeing Part 4B

Forging is that defect of the horse’s gait by reason of which, at a trot, he strikes the ends of the branches or the under surface of the front shoe with the toe of the hind shoe or hoof of the same side. Forging is unpleasant to hear and dangerous to the horse. It is liable to wound the heels of the forefeet, damages the toes or the coronet of the hind hoofs, and often pulls off the front shoes.

Hay Making with a Single Horse Part 1

Hay Making with a Single Horse Part 1

by:
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For the last ten years, I have made hay mostly with a single horse. This has not necessarily been out of choice, as at one time I had hoped to be farming on a larger scale with more horses. Anyway, it does little good to dwell on ‘what if ’. The reality is that I am able to make hay, and through making and modifying machinery, I probably have a better understanding of hay making and the mechanics of draught.

Boer Goats

Boer Goats

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from issue:

The introduction of the Boer Goat has stirred up a lot of interest in all sectors of agriculture. The demand for goat meat exceeds the supply; goat meat is the most consumed meat in the world. One of the main points about South African Boer Goats is that out of all meat goat breeds the Boer is the top meat producer whereas in the cattle business you have over 100 breeds of beef cattle that all compete for the beef dollar.

Oxen Experiences

Oxen Experiences

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Some things I have learned about working with oxen as with any other living thing is to treat them with some respect. Especially hump-backed cattle which I prefer. Be firm and gentle, but consistent, realizing you could be seriously injured if they chose. Be patient while teaching them what you want them to do, and then insisting every time that they do what you want them to do every time.

Horseshoeing Part 1B

Horseshoeing Part 1B

Since the horse is useful to man only by reason of his movements, his foot deserves the most careful attention. The horse-shoer should be familiar with all its parts. Fig. 3 shows the osseous framework of the foot, consisting of the lower end of the cannon bone, the long pastern, the two sesamoid bones, the short pastern, and the pedal bone.

The Best Kept Secret, Revisited

The Best Kept Secret, Revisited

by:
from issue:

At the same time that U.S. commercial beekeeping is circling down in a death spiral, hobby beekeeping is booming and almost every beekeeping club in the country has at least twice as many members as it did twenty years ago. What this means is that if you are fortunate enough to live in a place with relatively clean and varied sources of pollen and nectar, the potential for a successful family-sized commercial apiary is better now than it has been for many decades.

The Mule Part 1

The Mule – Part 1

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There is no more useful or willing animal than the Mule. And perhaps there is no other animal so much abused, or so little cared for. Popular opinion of his nature has not been favorable; and he has had to plod and work through life against the prejudices of the ignorant. Still, he has been the great friend of man, in war and in peace serving him well and faithfully. If he could tell man what he most needed it would be kind treatment.

Goat Lessons

Goat Lessons

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Goats are one of the most incredible homestead animals. They are usually affectionate and sweet, with such funny and smart personalities. Goats give so much goodness for the amount of hay and grain they eat. One cow weighs 1,000 lbs. or more and gives 4-8 gallons of milk a day. One goat weighs around 130 lbs. and gives around a gallon — can you see the difference in feed conversion?

Ask A Teamster Driving

Ask A Teamster: Driving

I have been questioned (even criticized) about my slow, gentle, repetitious approach “taking too much time” and all the little steps being unnecessary when one can simply “hitch ‘em tied back to a well-broke horse they can’t drag around, and just let ‘em figure it out on their own.” I try to give horses the same consideration I would like if someone was teaching me how to do something new and strange.

Livestock Guardians

Introducing Your Guard Dog To New Livestock And Other Dogs

When you introduce new animals to an established herd or flock, you should observe your dog’s reactions and behavior for a few days. Since he will be curious anyway, it is a good idea to introduce him to the new animals while he is leashed or to place the new animals in a nearby area.

On-Farm Meat Processing

The demand for fresh, local meat products – with no taint of industrial process – is absolutely staggering.

Living With Dairy Goats

Living With Dairy Goats

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Dairy goats are different than other types of livestock, even Angora goats. They are independent, unimpressed by efforts to thwart their supremacy of the barnyard (or your garden), and like to survey the world from an elevated perch. Though creatures of habit, they will usually pull off some quite unexpected performance the minute you “expect” them to do their usual routine. For the herdsperson who can keep one step ahead of them, they are one of the most enjoyable species of livestock to raise and ideal to small farms.

The Broodmare in Fall

The Broodmare in Fall

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Mares are not the major emphasis in the fall since they have performed their task of foaling, lactating and being re-bred. After foals are weaned, most breeders tend to focus on weanlings and yearlings that are being prepared for shows, sales and/or performance in the case of long yearlings. Fall management of broodmares is far more critical than some breeders realize and can directly impact foaling and re-breeding successes next year.

Work Bridle Styles

Work Bridle Styles

Here are fourteen work bridle styles taken from a 1920’s era harness catalog. Regional variants came with different names and configurations, so much so that we have elected to identify these images by letter instead of name so you may reference these pictures directly when ordering harness or talking about repairs or fit concerns with trainers or harness makers. In one region some were know as pigeon wing and others referred to them as batwing or mule bridles.

ODHBA 2016 Plowing Match

ODHBA 2016 Plowing Match

The Oregon Draft Horse Breeders Association hosted their 50th Anniversary Plowing Match at the Yamhill Valley Heritage Center in McMinnville, Oregon on April 9, 2016. Small Farmer’s Journal was lucky enough to attend and capture some of the action to share.

The Brabants Farm

The Brabants’ Farm

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The Brabants’ Farm is a multi purpose farming operation whose main goal is to promote “horsefarming.” Our philosophy is to support the transformation of regional conventional agriculture and forestry into a sustainable, socially responsible, and less petroleum dependent based agriculture, by utilizing animal drawn technology (“horsefarming”), and by meeting key challenges in 21st century small scale agriculture and forestry in Colombia and throughout South America.

Black Pigs and Speckled Beans

Black Pigs & Speckled Beans

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As country pigs go the Large Blacks are superb. They are true grazing pigs, thriving on grass and respectful of fences. Protected from sunburn by their dark skin and hair they are tolerant of heat and cold and do well even in rugged conditions. Having retained valuable instincts, the sows are naturally careful, dedicated, and able mothers. The boars I’ve seen are friendly and docile.

Small Farmer's Journal

Small Farmer's Journal
PO Box 1627
Sisters, Oregon 97759
800-876-2893
541-549-2064
agrarian@smallfarmersjournal.com
Mon - Thu, 8am - 4pm PDT