A groundbreaking first for Kumara growers!

A groundbreaking first for Kumara growers!

FarmShop’s Kumara Gear Day in November was a hit. A strong turnout of about 40 people gathered at Riverview Farms in Dargaville to witness the unveiling of a brand new Calotti Kumara Harvester – a first for New Zealand!

Straight off the production line in Italy and revealed to an enthusiastic audience – local growers had the opportunity to see, touch and provide feedback on this exciting new prototype.

The brain behind the new harvester is a collaboration between FarmShop and European machinery specialist, Carlotti. Conversations began in 2020 based on direct feedback from kumara growers about the ideal machine for local conditions. Unlike American sweet potato, our kumara has more sensitive skin and requires a unique set-up for best results.

Italian made, this harvester has excellent features, including a hydraulic draw bar and skeith wheels, adjustable cutting blade and adjustment valves for independent belt speed.

While it was too early in the season to use the machine, feedback was positive. There were a few modifications to make that FarmShop are now discussing with Carlotti, including adding a toe kick to the standing platform to pick of the belts without bending your back, along with more guards for health and safety reasons.

FarmShop’s key contact from Carlotti is looking forward to visiting NZ at the start of harvest in early February. That’s where the real test will take place!

Concentrated to the Kaipara District, the kumara growing industry is small, so it was wonderful to see a good percentage attend the FarmShop Gear Day. Sharing innovative ways to automate and reduce costs was met with keen interest, especially when cost of production and labour shortages continue to be a challenge.

Other implements were showcased too, including an AVR Top Chopper with 4 row top chop with the extra skeith wheels attached, then the FarmMax Inter-Row Cultivator with custom made kumara moulders, specially designed for the Kumara Capital. Being 5 rows (versus the traditional 2 rows) - growers can expect to get a whole lot more done in a day. Customised moulders can be removed to suit cultivating maize crops, ideal for strip-till crops, keeping weeds away and increasing planting yields.

We take this opportunity to thank Riverview Farms for being fantastic hosts. The harvester is safely parked in their shed and we’re all looking forward to trialling it in the new year. Look out for an invite closer to time. 

Kumara is a versatile and delicious vegetable, and these exciting advances in technology are great news for all.

Anyone interested in the new Carlotti Kumara Harvester is encouraged to contact the FarmShop team - delay not, there is just one in stock.

Kumara Harvester Tech Check:

Hydraulic drawbar 

Hydraulic skeith wheels - with speed and height adjustment

Adjustable cutting blade - adjusted by hydraulic ram 

Water tank mounted - designed to water the vegetables as roll through 

Walking Board on Edge - hold up to 8 people

Removable Cover – for weather protection

Provision for x 2 Spare Bins – x 2 empty holding areas 

All Belts Rubber Coated - very gentle on the vegetable 

PVC-covered upper unloading belt & rear forks - with optimized box-inclination to reduce product fall.

Adjustment valves for independent belt speed-  broken into 3 sections, Collection, Sorting and main sorting 

Rear hydraulic forklift with electric control on board the machine, with rotation system for optimized bins filling and ground unloading in line

Safety Cut-out Switch