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“After cleaning up 250 ha you cannot even see that the blades of the Niubo have done any work,” says Alwyn Dippenaar of LA Grape Farms near Augrabies on the Orange River.
The 1,5-meter Niubo T-Max has been working since April to make child’s play of clearing up the loppings and other dry material in the vineyards of the well-known producer of table-grapes on the Orange River.
Alwyn says it almost works like a baler. The machine is attached to a tractor and towed through the vineyard rows where it sucks up all the loppings and leaves lying on the ground, shredding it into smaller pieces and spewing the compostable material out on one side.
The importer of the light green Spanish brush cutters and mulchers is the dependable supplier of farming machinery, Inttrac Trading. One of their distributors, Willem Liebenberg of WA Mechanical Services in Worcester, assisted Alwyn adapting his machine to ensure that the pulverous material is placed underneath the vines where it serves as a mulch to increase the moisture content of the soil. The application of compost tea also helps to increase the biological fertilisation of the soil.
Alwyn says in the past they had used a rotary cutter but the Niubo is a superior solution. When the material is picked up and sucked in the blades are high enough above the ground and have no contact with stones and the soil itself, which happens with a rotary cutter. The result is less wear and tear and a much smaller risk of damage to the tool.
“Previously I had the replace blades after every 25 to 30 ha; with this new implement it may be possible that I will be able to work 500 ha with a single set of blades” says Alwyn. “The machine requires less maintenance all over and it should have a much longer lifespan.”
The working speed of the Niubo is considerably higher at 2,5 to 3 kph where, in the past, the lopping had to be done at less than 1 kph. Simultaneously there is no danger any longer of stones being thrown hard enough to injure labourers or damage irrigation piping.
The Niubo T-Max attaches to the ball of the three point linkage although there is an option to fit wheels at the rear. Alwyn says he prefers the wheels as it is then less demanding on the tractor and makes it easier to follow the land profile on uneven sections and inclines.
Alwyn prefers the 1,5 metre model, which requires a 55 kW tractor and is especially suitable for vineyards. The machine can cut and mulch branches of up to 50 mm thick.
The big brother – the 1,8 metre Niubo T-Max – requires 65 kW drawing power, is more suitable for orchards and will especially assist citrus growers to manage their pruning material. This big boy can digest branches of up to 75 mm thick!
And it is so that South African farmers expect of the Niubo machines to do all of it and even more!
Frans Jacobs of Inttrac Trading enjoys teasing the South African farmers. “They believe in testing equipment to just before breaking point and finding tasks that do not appear in the manufacturer’s specifications for their machines to perform.” Frans has just completed a tour through the Northern Cape accompanied by Feliu Izard, a representative of Niubo in Spain. They investigated the farmers’ experiences and needs and visited a variety of destinations – from pecan nut orchards to a date farm.
Charl de Villiers of De Meul Boerdery near Prieska says he was surprised to receive a visit by people from Inttrac Trading, and especially of the manufacturer, going to such lengths to see in loco what design changes could be made to market an even more robust product.
On De Meul farm a Niubo (Faster 3.2) is utilised to pick up and shred branches of pecan nut trees after pruning. Some trees are really big with thick branches.
“Previously we collected the branches of the pecan trees and fed them through a chipper by hand. This demands a lot of time and labour,” says Charl. “Now, with the Niubo, much less time is required and it is a much more sensible way of doing away with the branches”.
“However, because we have to process such thick material, I find that the wear and tear on the blades is significantly higher. It is a well-constructed machine and definitely the way to go. I may consider a different model in future.”
Solve your problems with pruning waste with a Niubo. Contact Inttrac Trading on 016-365-5799 or send an email message to: email@example.com. Willem Liebenberg is also available to assist in the Western and Northern Cape. Contact him on 083-609-8816. You can also go to the website www.proagri.co.za to watch a short video of a Niubo performing in a vineyard.