The Stevenson family's roots have been in agriculture for several generations. They have leased and owned many ranches, farms & feedlots. They also have a heritage of innovation, as many agriculture people do. When Jim Stevenson was having trouble with his pivot ruts, he looked at all the options and tried several but did not find a solution.
The deep ruts caused extensive wear on the pivot's running gear, in extreme cases causing the pivot to get stuck in its own ruts or even tip over.
They also cost time in the hayfield and damage to the haying equipment.
Knocking-in the sides was not much more than a temporary band-aid, only slightly improving the situation for a short time. Wider and taller wheels for each tower were an ongoing expense that ultimately made deeper or wider ruts, and so on.
Wheel Track Filler
The answer would be to fill those ruts with a road base material to Jim's analytical mind. People were filling ruts, but it was a labor-intensive, time-consuming ordeal. And so the idea of the wheel track filler worked out in Jim's head. He went to his fourth of five sons (Otie), catching him in the middle of putting up his own hay. Jim tells Otie, "I have a job for you."
Otie says he remembers thinking, "Just what I need is another job." Now Otie declares he wishes he'd thrown his hay tools aside and started immediately designing the track filler, but of course, he finished haying first and did not start until that fall of 1999.
Our Journey & God's Blessings
The whole project was laid before the Lord, and we asked God to bless us in this venture that we might bless others. By early 2000 we would patent and sell the first wheel track filler. The response was phenomenal. We have listened to the advice or any problems from our customers and improved anything we found that needed it.
But the real alterations have been few. Otie is an excellent welder himself, and so originally, he welded, and our kids and I (Tonya, Otie's wife) helped make parts, etc.
Otie's dad, Jim Stevenson, did the sales and still does much of it though he is 87 years young. The track fillers are still made on our farm.
God has blessed us greatly in this business, and till October 2014, we had more than 900 Oteco Wheel Track Fillers out and being used. We have had the blessing of having some great employees and many wonderful customers, and we are very grateful for each of you. By God's grace, we have been blessed by this business, and we trust we have been a blessing to others too.