Learning Sod Machines
Here at Greenhorizons Sod Farms, we’re all about sod education. We simply love to pass on knowledge; whether we’re educating our customers about how to properly install sod and plant veggies, or we’re educating the next generation about machines and how they work.
Grade School Field Trip
Recently, our Hamilton location had the pleasure of welcoming the grade 4 class from Calvin Christian School to our farm. They were able to learn about gears and pulleys for their science class. We met them at one of our fields and started the morning learning about the forklifts we use to move skids (or pallets) of sod. They weigh up to 1 tonne depending on field conditions! The students watched Cam lift the forklift to the highest point. They later figured out that was 22.5 feet! We were able to identify a number of different pulleys in the mast of the forklift, and then also a variety of gears and belts in the engine compartment. It makes a big difference when the kids are able to see simple sod machines in action. It solidifies many of the concepts that they have learned in the classroom!
After taking a look at the forklift, we had a look at one of the seeders we use to plant a new crop of sod. Peter was able to show us how tiny the grass seed is! It’s amazing to see the transformation from a tiny seed, to massive field of lush, green sod. This sod machine also had some intricate gear and pulley systems that are used to evenly distribute the seed!
We then took a little bit of a walk further back into the field to watch Colin work one of our harvesters. It was amazing to see how the sod is harvested, rolled, and then perfectly placed onto a skid for the forklifts to pick up. Colin even took some time to explain how the harvester works! He opened up a number of compartments and showed the students how everything works together to start the process of sod harvesting. Once we had a look at the inner workings of the “cutter heads” at the front, he showed each student the ‘video game’ like controls he works with every day. The kids were in awe as they sat in the driver’s seat of this massive sod machine!
Fraser also taught us a little bit about the different pulleys that are found in the middle of the harvester. This is where the sod is rolled up. It was really cool to be able to look at the inner workings of one of these sod machines. The students got a better understanding of how pulleys, gears, screws, and levers work outside of the classroom!
The Irrigation Reel
The last of the sod machines that we took a look at was the biggest ‘sprinkler’ the kids had ever seen! We learned that, technically, this giant sprinkler is called an irrigation reel. Towards the back of the field, the reel is anchored and a large “boom” with water nozzles is towed out from it. It works hard to pump water from the pond, through the irrigation reel, and out of the nozzles to keep our sod hydrated before harvest.
After we were done looking at the sod machines, the students were able to take their lunches and eat on the field. Then, we sent them on their way back to school to debrief the morning. A huge thank you to Peter, Fraser, and Colin for taking time out of their day to teach the class. It was a fun and educational morning at Greenhorizons!