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Manure Spreader
8 December 2008


For every five pounds of coffee cherry that is picked off the trees, four of those pounds are lost in the pulping process.  Only the seeds are saved (yes Ryan, coffee beans and coffee seeds are the same thing.)  The pulpy outer fruit is discarded.  That adds up to a lot of material and getting rid of all that slimy mess can be a problem.

In a previous post I discussed coffee pulp and how to get rid of it.  I mentioned another Kona coffee farmer that uses an old manure spreader.  I was jealous of the spreader but the farmer hated it.  He complained that the thing never worked right and was always breaking.  Well, maybe the guy is a really good salesman or maybe I'm just a sucker but I decided to buy that old manure spreader.

Empty Sure enough, the thing is as clunky as can be.  The drive mechanisms are all rusty and bent.  Backing up will jam the belts if not disengaged first.  I've already had to replace a couple bolts to keep the trailer tongue from falling off.  I haven't broken the axle yet but I know I could if I'm not careful.

The manure spreader gets filled with slimy, stinky mess so as far as I'm concerned, it's supposed to be rusty, dirty, bent and ugly.  It has large balloon tires so it's easy to pull around the fields and the spreader mechanism still does a good job of flinging pulp everywhere.  Flinging is good because I don't want piles of mess, I want the mess spread evenly all over the field.  I can't drive too fast though or else the mess gets flung all over my truck.

I try to empty the spreader as soon as I can after pulping.  It's sometimes tempting to leave the mess sitting in the trailer for a day or two but that's not a good idea.  Flinging coffee pulp is bad enough, flinging half rotten coffee pulp is worse.  I don't recommend it.  Unless Mike Rowe comes for a visit, then the messy stuff would be perfect.

It's a bit difficult to maneuver the truck and spreader up and down all the rows.  I've already managed to get stuck once.  Luckily the spreader was almost empty at the time so I could disconnect it without having to shovel it out first.

Compared to the tiny trailer I used to use, this "new" spreader holds a lot more.  Now I can pulp an entire batch of coffee without having to stop two or three times to empty the trailer.  That has already made the spreader a good purchase.   I know most people wouldn't get too excited about a manure spreader but I don't care, as a Kona coffee farmer I'm quite please with my latest toy.


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