Local innovation is filling the small farm implement gap

Over the past several years, small and mid-sized tractors have inundated the marketplace as more small-scale and organic farmers begin to update their equipment. As sales of lower horse powered machines climb, Bellevue farmer Jeff Sberna has noticed that the implement side of the farm manufacturing sector wasn’t following suit, so he designed a concept for a compact aeration tool.

“I have always has small equipment and never really had anything to break the sub dirt with,” said Sberna, who came up with the concept of the J & D Farm Built chisel ripper. “This unit is a hybrid and is designed to take the place of a chisel plow and a subsoiler. It will maintain a depth of 13 to 14 inches without re-compaction and is great on fuel efficiency.”

The six-foot chisel ripper was on display recently at Farm Science Review. Sberna recommends that unit for a small, niche and organic farms with 20 to 30 acres to cover. He also designed a larger unit that includes coulters and is a little more complex.

“When I first ran a prototype over my farm the goal was to get some of the hard pan broken down to help resolve some drainage issues,” Sberna said. “Then I noticed they way that it aerates using forward shatter and it doesn’t just roll the dirt up.”

The Sberna family has a deep tradition of being creative when it comes to custom building implements that filled a need for their farm at any particular time. That innovative philosophy of building what you need when you need it dates back to Sberna’s grandfather and then to his father.

“When I was younger, I worked construction and in the winter months my Dad was always looking for something new to fabricate and that’s how I got the bug,” Sberna said. “We would haul some older equipment home from another farm or bring in a truckload of materials and my Mom would always ask what in the world we were going to do with it. We just told her ‘you’ll see’”.

You can learn more about the J & D Farm Build chisel ripper here.