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Used Onion harvesters & loaders

Harvesting onions seems to be a simple business, with simple machines. It looks like there's little to go wrong. Nevertheless, the precise adjustment of the onion harvester and onion loader is crucial to the quality of the product. Harvesting damage caused by a variety of reasons are ideal entry spots for diseases.

Adjusting the onion windrower

Here follows a few tips to adjust the onion lifter properly so as to minimise damage to the crop, which produces a better end result. The advantage of moist soil in general is that damage from harvesting is less likely to arise.

Open the onion outlet slowly

Sometimes the onion windrow lifter is equipped with an onion outlet in order to catch the onions at these beginning of the swath so that these are not dropped on the head margin of the field. In order to achieve a good result in drying, any piles of onions must be avoided. That is why it is recommended to open the outlet gradually. The speed can be adjusted by throttling the hydraulic automatic coupling further open or down.

Locking the stabilising bar

In order to have the onion harvester trailing the tractor properly, the stabilising bars can be locked. The lifting mechanism is lowered and the lifting depth can be adjusted by means of the roller wheels on the onion lifter. If possible, lift a little further than the end of the onion bed. This also stops the onions from falling off the machine. Only lift the machine from the…

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Harvesting onions seems to be a simple business, with simple machines. It looks like there's little to go wrong. Nevertheless, the precise adjustment of the onion harvester and onion loader is crucial to the quality of the product. Harvesting damage caused by a variety of reasons are ideal entry spots for diseases.

Adjusting the onion windrower

Here follows a few tips to adjust the onion lifter properly so as to minimise damage to the crop, which produces a better end result. The advantage of moist soil in general is that damage from harvesting is less likely to arise.

Open the onion outlet slowly

Sometimes the onion windrow lifter is equipped with an onion outlet in order to catch the onions at these beginning of the swath so that these are not dropped on the head margin of the field. In order to achieve a good result in drying, any piles of onions must be avoided. That is why it is recommended to open the outlet gradually. The speed can be adjusted by throttling the hydraulic automatic coupling further open or down.

Locking the stabilising bar

In order to have the onion harvester trailing the tractor properly, the stabilising bars can be locked. The lifting mechanism is lowered and the lifting depth can be adjusted by means of the roller wheels on the onion lifter. If possible, lift a little further than the end of the onion bed. This also stops the onions from falling off the machine. Only lift the machine from the ground after doing that.

Top bar is loose in the key hole

The top bar must be hanging loose in the key hole during lifting. This enables the onion harvester to be hitched and roll behind the tractor following the ground surface. At the front the onion lifter has to run entirely on the roller wheels. For this reason you must ensure that the blades are sharp at the inlet and are not set in too deep. Otherwise the onion harvesting machine may put its weight on these, particularly when lifting in dry conditions.

The correct lifting depth

The wheels running at the front of the onion harvester determine the depth of lifting. These roll across the onion bed between the rows. The depth is sometimes adjusted by way of a depth controller. Retain a little soil between the teeth or the rod lifter and the onion. The rule for rod lifters is that the centre of the rod lifter should be at the level of the bottom of the deepest onions. These are often found in the outer rows. In the case of teeth lifters the teeth should cut just below the bottom of the deepest onion.

No excessive vibration on the mesh

Lift with minimum oscillation so that the sifted soil at the back of the onion harvesting machine has just been cleared. This soil often drops through the lifting mesh too quickly. In the case of a lot of soil a larger size mesh on the first mat, 50 for example, may be an option of losing a lot of soil without having to vibrate too intensively. The drop size in that case will be 40 mm, but because of the soil, onions less than 35 mm will not fall through. A 40 mm mesh will be adequate for the second mat. The advantage of moist soil is that onions will not be damaged that much.

Preventing a bulldozing effect caused by the pressure roller on lighter soil

At the rear the onion harvester runs predominantly on a pressure roller. This ensures a stable ground on which the onions can dry better and from which they can be loaded in a cleaner condition. The wheels behind the roller should be set deeper by approximately one centimetre than the roller. It is much easier to adjust this accurately on flat and hard surface. The wheels are definitely needed on soft ground in order to prevent the bulldozing effect.

Tips for operating an onion loader

Sometimes it does not seem to be important how onions come off the land. Still, there are issues in this area.

Also avoid damage when loading onions. The adage of being more careful is better, applies here too. Especially if the onions have to be kept in storage for the whole of the winter. Damage during harvesting can cause fusarium whilst in storage. The germination rest period is also disturbed.

  • Load the onions when they are wind-dry, this will limit contamination. This does not mean that the onions will have to lie on the land for the first few weeks.
  • Just limit the dropping heights when unloading onions: these must not be more than 40 to 50 cm. Do therefore not keep the goose neck of the onion loader too high above the tipper. Keep in addition the speed of the loading conveyor as low as possible in order to prevent onions from being bounced away.
  • Keep the mesh matting of the onion loader as full as possible to prevent damage. The maximum recommended speed of the first grading chain mesh is 70 metres per minute at a moving speed of 4 kilometres per hour.
  • Use the beaters as little as possible. The foliage rollers must be switched off or turn in the same direction as the conveyor.
  • Do not turn the tipper completely up in one go when unloading into the hopper. The roller bottom could otherwise peel off the onion skins because of the greater pressure.

Please see below the actual stock of second hand onion harvesters and onion loaders from Holaras, Asa Lift, Keulmac, Samon, Cebeco and Maclouis.

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