18 March 2007
Liberty wood chippers sells a tractor chipper similar to this model.
They also have a line of 3-point backhoe attachments.
Harvest season is certainly a busy time of year on a Kona coffee farm but
the few weeks immediately after harvest can be even worse. For the last
several weeks we have been busy with pruning
and more pruning. Almost all the coffee
trees have been pruned now but the job still isn't done. Now all the
rows are filled with all the dead branches that were removed from the trees.
In previous years we hired a flail mower to
get rid of all the old prunings. The flail mower seems like it would be
the fastest solution, simply drive over all the branches and make them
disappear. In practice however, at least in our experience,
the flail mowers spend about half their time being repaired.
Between hitting rocks and simply rattling themselves apart, the flail
mowers weren't as slick as they at first seemed. Hiring a flail
mower was costing us about $800 per year. For that much, we
decided we could buy our own equipment.
We decided to purchase a chipper. It's a PTO chipper which means
it mounts onto the back of the tractor and is driven by the
tractor's drive-shaft. Being able to easily move the chipper
around the farm is very important. Having no separate engine to
maintain is also a huge plus. The chipping process is more
labor intensive than with a flail mower but we'll also be able to use
it for other jobs around the farm, like getting rid of old boots and
leftover kitchen scraps, much easier with a good chipper/shredder.
Actually, the first victim of the chipper was its own manual. The
manual had slipped into the feed roller and been shredded beyond
use. No problem, a quick search on the Internet found a website
of another owner complete with pictures and detailed maintenance
instructions. There is also a picture of the owner feeding a 30'
log through his chipper. He said he had to throttle the feed
roller a bit but the tractor and chipper had no problems at all.
I'm sure the thing could eat a stray arm or leg without a hiccup.
I don't plan to find out though, my chipper is on a strict diet of only
100% Kona coffee.