Modifications for farming with limited lower leg strength or amputations
Whether you’re an amputee, have arthritis in your legs and back or any of a number of other conditions, farming with reduced lower body strength presents a unique set of challenges.
Whether you’re an amputee, have arthritis in your legs and back or any of a number of other conditions, farming with reduced lower body strength presents a unique set of challenges. Accessing equipment, hitching up wagons and pushing pedals down can all be impacted.
Accessing tractors with lower body impairment can be made easier by simply adding an additional step or fitting the tractor with a lift. The lift is a more expensive option, but is necessary when a client is unable to access their equipment on their own due to limited strength or an amputation. Lifts can be mounted to the tractor or combine itself or can be free standing, allowing for use on more than one piece of equipment. Depending on the severity or type of condition, a seated or standing lift may be used.
Automatic hitching equipment can reduce the number of times a farmer has to mount and dismount equipment. There are several different models on the market, but all basically run on the same principle of guiding the tongue of the wagon into a receiver, triggering the pin to drop automatically when it is properly aligned. When ready to drop the wagon, a cord pulled from the driver’s seat releases the pin, allowing the operator to drive off.
Both clutch and brake pedals can be modified to be used by the hands when a farmer doesn’t have strength to push them down with their leg. Many farmers have made this modification using levers and they can be done either permanently or made to be removable for traditional use.
As always, consult an expert before modifying any equipment. For more information contact Michigan AgrAbility.