Farm & Ranch Living
The way Horace Clemmons of Paint Rock, Alabama, figures it, the three main things a farmer considers when buying a tractor are price, cost of ownership and availability. So Horace, co-owner of CleBer, which manufacturers Oggún tractors, kept all this in mind when he set about making a simpler, more affordable machine that wouldn’t break down the way his own did. Designing it with an air-cooled engine eliminated the need for a radiator, water pump or fan belts. He also incorporated hydraulic drive, steering and lift, so the tractor is able to operate without a transmission, brake linings or pads.
To further minimize repair costs, Horace assembled the tractor using off-the-shelf parts. “You can’t buy another tractor and have the cost of ownership be as cheap as mine because there are no parts you have to buy from me,” he says. “And if all the parts are available within 50 miles of the farm, there isn’t another tractor you can fix as quickly.”
CleBer publishes its designs, too—think of it as an open-source manufacturing model—so customers can choose how the machine comes to them. One option is to license the design, buy the components (from Oggún or elsewhere), and build it yourself. Or customers can order the machine fully assembled.
The original, single-row Oggún tractor, with 17 inches of ground clearance and the ability to tend under 100 acres, sells for $13,250. The new Oggún II, which can work five rows and delivers 27 inches of clearance, is priced at $16,500—or $21,500 for the diesel version ( thinkoggun.com).
Thanks to rear-mount engines inspired by the Model G, Oggún tractors offer operators clear views of the ground in front of them, while a range of belly- and rear-mounted implements give the machine its remarkable versatility.
But that’s not all that appeals to Oggún customers. “It was a day old and I started grinding off parts and preparing it for welding and modifying it here and there,” says farmer Jeff Smeenk, an agronomist with Alaska’s Palmer Soil and Water Conservation District.
“That’s the point that a lot of people are missing—it’s designed to be altered to meet your needs.”