Agriculture has become highly mechanised, from tilling to feed processing. To get an edge in the market and make profit, one needs to mechanize. Chaff cutters are some of the farm mechanizations available for small-holder farmers. Chaff cutters assist farmers turn animal feeds such as Napier grass into smaller chunks that are easily mixed with other store-bought animal feeds to make healthier diets for your cattle.
Types of chaff cutters available in Kenya
There are different types of chaff cutters that are available for sale in Kenya. The different types give the farmer more options depending on the size of the farm and the funds available to the farmer. Some of the chaff cutters available in Kenya include;
- Manually operated chaff cutters,
- Electrically operated chaff cutters and,
- Petrol- and diesel-powered chaff cutters.
Manually operated chaff cutters
The manual chaff cutter is fitted with a handle for spinning the blades when processing feeds. The chaff cutter is useful to farmers with one or two heads of cattle. As a farmer, you need to make sure you can handle the operations of a manual chaff cutter. The upside of the manual chaff cutter is that it saves on electricity and petrol costs.
The downside of the manually operated chaff cutter is that it requires a lot of energy during operations and may be labor intensive.
What are the design specifications of a manually operated chaff cutter?
- Chaff cutters require one main design component. The carbon steel cutting blades. Carbon steel is a special type of steel that has a has carbon as the main ingredient meaning it is in high concentration. Because carbon atoms are tightly held together by their bonds, it is a strong material that last longer.
- It has a cast iron body which is strong enough to hold the structure of the chaff cutter. Cast iron is heavy and durable, making it the correct material for the chaff cutter structure.
- Feed input. It has a feed input where the farmer can squeeze the feed through. Having the input makes it very easy to cut the food into smaller chunks to feed the cattle.
The manual chaff cutter is able to cut different types of grasses, maize stalks, millet, rice and wheat straws. As stated earlier, it is best suited for farmers with smaller herds of cattle.
Petrol-and diesel-powered chaff cutters
The petrol-powered chaff cutter is suitable for farmers with relatively larger cattle herds. Some of the design specifications of the chaff cutter are;
- It is a heavy-duty chaff cutter with 4 stainless steel blades. The four blades cut feeds into smaller pieces.
- Due to the sharpness and number of blades, it is very easy to process both wet and dry animal feeds.
- Has a cast iron hosing for the blades. This protects the operators from accidentally placing their hands or other body parts and will also prevent the blades from flying out when the blade nuts become lose.
- It is relatively heavy and some manufactures may fit the chaff cutters with wheels to enable them become more mobile. It can also be fixed in one position.
Electric powered and operated chaff cutters
They operate using the same procedure as the other chaff cutters. The difference is you need to have access to a mains switch.
The design components of the electric chaff cutter are;
- Electric motor. The electric motor converts the electric energy into mechanical energy which spins the blades. The spinning blades are then used to cut the feed into smaller pieces.
- The main caff cutter. The chaff cutter will have the blades, the feed hopper, and housing that covers the blades.
- The feed hopper. It directs the feeds to h=the blades for cutting.
When shopping around for the cost of chaff cutter in Kenya, a few things need to be kept in mind, the amount of money you are willing or able invest in the machine, and the size of your farm. For smaller farms, petrol and electrical chaff cutters may not be advised. Larger farms may consider buying the automatic category of the chaff cutters due to the amount of work required.