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PTO Chipper
18 March 2007


Liberty wood chippers sells a tractor chipper similar to this model.  They also have a line of 3-point backhoe attachments.

Chipping 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.

Mulch 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.

Manual 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.


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