With diesel fuel selling for close to $4/gallon, it's costly for Kevin Kuhn to use one of his 100-hp tractors to pull a single 9' hay rake. So this Oconee, IL, farmer built a double-rake hitch to pull two rakes at a time.
With over 1,000 acres in corn and soybeans and 100 acres in alfalfa-grass mixtures, Kuhn has high-capacity tractors for his farm work. “I was wasting time and fuel by pulling just one rake with a big tractor,” says Kuhn, who markets small bales to the local horse market.
Before heading to his shop to build the hitch, he spent two evenings designing and building a model hitch for two 1/9th-scale toy rakes. Pleased with those results, he spent two weeks building the working unit.
Kuhn spent around $1,000 to build the hitch from 4” square tubing. “It rides on two wheels and has five vertical legs and cross bracing and resembles a giant spider.”
Each right-hand delivery rake is pinned to an L-shaped leg. A pair of hydraulic cylinders are mounted on stationary cross members at the center of the hitch. The cylinders are used to move the legs along a bar on front of the hitch, which causes the rakes to move in or out.
It's equipped with a two-lever hydraulic control valve. One lever is used to extend or retract the cylinders; the other operates the rakes' hydraulics.
A forage equipment manufacturer looked at the hitch, but decided not to build it. “I never went any further with marketing it,” says Kuhn.