When visiting with strip-tillers on their farm, it’s always interesting to see some of the custom modifications they’ve made to machinery. Sometimes, these are major overhauls to row unit setups on planter or strip-till toolbars.

On more than one occasion, I’ve walked into the shop of a strip-tiller and seen parts and tools scattered about, with an explanation that, “My equipment is a constant work in progress.”

This motto fits Iowa strip-tiller Adam Nechanicky, who we had a chance to visit with on our way to the Farm Progress Show last month. Nechanicky and his father, Mark, are admittedly frugal when it comes to equipment purchases, often relying on their mechanical know-how, rather than their checkbook when it comes to updating machinery.

With background as an engineer for Kinze Mfg., Adam is confident in his ability to make tweaks that will improve efficiency on their 500-acre corn and soybean operation and 1,000-acre custom strip-till business.

“I keep telling my dad that someday, we need to clear out all of these spare parts we have laying around, but he’s reluctant to get rid of anything because it might be of use someday,” Adam says. “I prove him right all too often because we do a lot of engineering by inventory.”

Two years ago, the Nechanickys purchased a used 16-row Progressive toolbar with a 6-ton Montag dry fertilizer cart, and mounted Remlinger row units on the bar. They apply anhydrous when building fall strips, but Adam struggled with getting a clear view of the hitch on the strip-till rig when connecting the tank.

So he scavenged spare parts and built a hydraulic winch to attach to the back of the strip-till rig out of a worn gear off a John Deere corn elevator. He uses an AgCam rearview camera system to get close to the anhydrous tank and connects it with the hydraulic winch.

“It was basically scrap we had laying around, but it’s the handiest thing because we don’t have to be perfect when lining up the strip-till rig and tank,” Adam says. “It saves a lot of time and headaches.”

The Nechanickys certainly aren’t unique in their approach to turning scrap into a solution, but they understand the value and pride that come from incorporating a little home-grown innovation to improve efficiency.

What are some homemade improvements you’ve made to equipment in your strip-till operation? Share your story with me at (262) 782-4480, ext. 441, or send me an e-mail at jzemlicka@lesspub.com