It takes a diverse array of specialized equipment to make a sugarcane crop in Louisiana, and much of it comes from on-the-spot innovations – or what producer Ronnie Gonsoulin, of Ulysses Gonsoulin Sons, calls “Cajun country engineering.”

Gonsoulin farms about 6,000 acres of sugarcane in a rotation with soybeans, with his son, Keven, around New Iberia, La. It’s a wet, sub-tropical world down here, receiving an average of 68 inches of rainfall every year.

It makes for some tough conditions that can stress the coolest of farmers. But Gonsoulin doesn’t let wet, wild weather get in the way of properly managing his crop. He and other farmers in the area are known for innovative equipment designs that perform under the messiest conditions.

The end result doesn’t have to look pretty either.

Check out some of Gonsoulin's ideas: If you can't buy it, build it

Take for example, the vegetable tractor Gonsoulin acquired from Washington state for spraying crops in wet conditions. He replaced the tractor’s thin rubber wheels with even thinner iron wheels the Gonsoulins made in their shop. The wheels have spikes on the side which grip the side of the cane row – which is significantly deeper than most Delta furrows – to help pull the vehicle through tough conditions.

If a heavy rain has soaked a field, no problem. The tractor wheels slice through potential trouble like a knife through butter. “In some soils the wheels will go down about six inches into the soil, in heavy blackland, 10 inches to 12 inches,” Gonsoulin said.

Another tool is an extension wheel on tractors equipped with steel blades to grip the side of the row.