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Boosting tree planting speed with new machinery

Dutch machine factory Damcon is a specialist in machines for tree nurseries. One of their latest developments is the PL40F tree planting machine, an innovation that combines multiple steps in one operation. The result is a visible improvement in planting quality and a considerable saving in time and labor. Dutch and Belgian professionals welcomed the machine with enthusiasm.

It was a Belgian apple grower who approached Damcon with the request to expand one of Damcon’s existing tree planting machines with a pole planting module. "We developed a modified version that digs a trench, plants the trees and poles based on GPS data and closes the trench again," says director Leendert Scheurwater. "Every operation is automatic, with the exception of planting the trees which are placed manually at a marked point in the planting trench."

Besides, at the request of a Dutch contract worker Damcon added a drilling module for concrete poles. “The challenge was the position of the drill. It had to come at the back and be able to move aside for the newly planted tree. We managed it.” Both innovations are united in the new PL40F tree planting machine, which can be seen on the following video:

The result is a neatly planted plot in which the trees are planted at exactly the right depth. Moreover, the apple grower who started using the first machine, now spares no less than 20 employees. The aforementioned contract worker soon received new requests from customers because of the planting speed and quality that he can offer through the PL40F.

The machine turned out to have another surprising effect. “After the Belgian apple grower had planted the young trees in the spring, he sent us an excited message in the fall. For the first time in his career, his trees were already producing apples in the planting year. This is due to the efficient planting process. The trees are planted directly from the cold storage in a fresh trench and the root ball is immediately covered. Dehydration and stress are thus kept to a minimum."

The PL40F digs a trench with a standard width of 16 inches (40 cm), and is equipped for fruit growing. However, Damcon also receives requests to adapt the machine to other crops, such as olive trees. The PL40F is especially suitable for planting two-year-old trees and can be adapted to a specific crop.

Written by; Esther Sessink, Teshuva

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