Farm hand carts are primarily for carrying loads around the farm. These loads will vary from light bulky loads to loads in the 400+ pound range. The carts are designed to straddle beds with the two wheels running in walking pathways, not on bed tops.
Our carts allows adjustment of the wheel spacing depending on bed width on a farm. This adjustment is intended as a one time, or occasional adjustment, and it’s expected that a farm will probably set the width and never change it. The adjustment is infinite, simple, and takes only one wrench.
The cart starts with a simple, stiff frame that allows easy customization of accessories like flat beds and boxes for carrying loads, and quick changes to other accessories like bed markers, or cultivating tools.
The standard flat bed design for the cart is slightly forward of the wheels which helps keep the cart from tipping while it is standing in the field, but allows the majority of heavy loads to be carried by the wheels, not the operator. The height of the cart bed is about 20” and the bed sits relatively flat with the cart parked and in motion. 20” is an easy loading height for most people, allows good clearance over low crops and the flat angle keeps crops from shifting or tipping during transport.
The handle of the cart is set high to allow the operator to pick up the cart without bending over. The handle extends the full width of the bed and pathways allowing the operator to walk in the pathway, or centered. The handle can be pushed from hip height, leaving the hands to just balance the load and steer.
We also make the cart with adjustable handle height which allows better optimization for particularly short or tall users. The adjustment is easy with two quick release levers allowing easy, tool free adjustment in the field. The adjustable handle is paired with adjustable stands, allowing the sitting angle to be adjusted, or for the stands to be completely retracted for extra clearance.
This same version has the option to run as a single wheel cart, similar to a wheelbarrow. This is particularly suited to situations where there are extremely wide beds, or very tall plants on the bed tops. The basic frame is the same, but it uses a different handle and foot, and the wheel is 20″, not 26″.
Current versions are made from 1 1/2” and 1 1/4″ square tube and 1/4″x 1 1/2″ flat stock which makes the extremely strong, tough and stiff. The handles are 1” round tube. Standard 20″ and 26” front bicycle wheels are used because spare parts are readily available in most places. Other sized bicycle wheels can be used, but will change the geometry of the cart, which may or may not be beneficial. The frames are raw steel. In the past we powder coated them bright orange for visibility. This gives a durable finish that’s more environmentally friendly than equivalent paint, but through using raw, un-coated frames for years we realized that mostly the powder coating was just pretty and added cost. If you really want your frame powder coated or painted you can do it yourself, or we can have it done for you for an up-charge of about $150.
The carts come as a bare frame with fairly heavy duty aluminum bicycle wheels.
Typically, you will want to add a simple plywood deck with cleats to hold it in place and with sides if needed. The deck can be easily removed to make room for a drip winder, or bed marker. With the rolling bed marker attachment wheels on the cart can mark pathways while the rolling marker marks planting lines and in row spacing for transplanted, or direct seeded crops. This speeds planting, as well as cultivation, and gives more uniform crop growth. Depending on the wheel spacing, pallets and fruit bins can be carried with the cart. The cart has also been used to carry 40’ lengths of aluminum irrigation pipe.
Currently we’re not offering accessories but the basic designs for a few are available for folks who want to build their own and we’re working on offering them for sale soon.
Past and Future Development
Design started with three prototype versions of the fixed dimension cart built, as well as the above mentioned accessories. These three carts have been in daily service on three different farms for a well over a decade. An initial run of carts that are very close in design to the current ones have been in continuous heavy use on a handful of farms since 2012. The only failures I’ve heard of have been a couple of wheels that tacoed under excessive load, typically when going fast around a turn or over a bump. With Slimed tubes we’ve even pretty much eliminated flat tires while keeping the easy rolling benefits of pneumatic tires.
Besides the accessories already mentioned several others are on the drawing board, including: stackable racks for transplants, a canopy, a hitch for hauling with a bicycle, a side dresser, a compost sifter and spreader, mounts for seeders, a flame weeder, a tine weeder, and a row cover retriever. A version with cogged bicycle wheels for power take off is also an option
If you have ideas for improvements to the cart or accessories, or would like a custom version please let us know. If you build one based on these ideas we’d love to see pictures and hear how the process went.