Mechanical pruning of branches of tall trees in citrus orchards is always a problem. When thick branches have to be cut, the tractor has to move at a very slow speed, which plays havoc with the clutch. Charl Tibshraeny seems to have the answer. Joe Spencer reports.
Charl Tibshraeny, who farms citrus at Kirkwood in the Eastern Cape, has solved the problem with the purchase of SAME Frutteto 75 orchard tractors. These 55kW tractors have a creeper gearbox option, which enables the tractors to operate on full power take-off (PTO) at extremely slow speeds, measured in metres per hour. This is ideal when working with the circular saw type machine that Charl uses for pruning his tall trees.
Tibshraeny Citrus Enterprises has 140 000 citrus trees on 300ha and the tractors are used in all aspects of cultivation as well as pest and disease control. The SAME Fruttetos give excellent fuel consumption when compared to other tractor models. Charl claims that, when spraying the orchards with big tower sprayers operating on both sides of the unit, consumption is about half of what he had previously experienced. He now uses 4,3 litres/hour compared to 8,3 litres/hour with other model tractors of comparative power. “Each of these tractors saves me up to R700 per week on my diesel bill. I use three of them when spraying the orchards, so my total saving is more than R2 000 per week,” he says.
Tibshraeny now has four SAME Fruttetos, two are four-wheel drive and the others two-wheel drive. The latest Frutteto II four-wheel drive models have a top speed of 40km/h and hydrostatic braking on all four wheels.
They also have a front PTO in addition to the standard rear PTO drive and are available with or without cabs. SAME tractors are imported and distributed by GM Power SA based in Isando. Riaan Pretorius operates the SAME dealership in Kirkwood that supplies and services the tractors used at Tibshraeny Citrus Enterprises. Contact Riaan Pretorius on (042) 230 0547.