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A Guide to Buying a Tractor-Powered Wood Chipper

October 29, 2021
A Guide to Buying a Tractor-Powered Wood Chipper

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Lifestyle block owners, orchardists, farmers, and almost every rural property owner have trees that need to be pruned or chopped for firewood. This creates a lot of tree waste, such as twigs, branches, slash, and brush, which must be disposed of efficiently. 

For many people, a wood chipper is the best way to do this, as it also provides wood chip or mulch for your garden, compost, or animal bedding, as well as getting rid of bulky green waste. 

If you’ve got a tractor, a PTO-powered wood chipper should be a serious consideration. Here are four reasons why tractor-powered chippers are generally better than motorised chippers. 

1. Better Chipping Capacity For Your Money

As PTO chippers don’t have motors, you’re able to benefit from a more cost-effective chipping process than if you opted for a motorised chipper. 

2. Increased Capacity

Most PTO chippers boast large capacity openings due to their large flywheels. As a result, you’re able to handle bulky and brushy materials more efficiently. 

3. Simplicity

A PTO Chipper is much simpler than a motorised machine. There are far less moving parts, and one less engine to maintain around the place. High quality Wallenstein wood chippers have PTO shafts with inbuilt shearbolt protection, so have very simple and effective drive systems. 

4. Mobility

With easy hook-up to a tractor, even the bulkiest PTO wood chipper can be mobile. Take care of waste wood anywhere on your property with ease. 

PTO Chipper Types

Before we dive into what you need to consider before purchasing a tractor-powered wood chipper, it’s helpful to be aware of what you can buy on the market in NZ today, in order of cost: 

  1. Standard PTO Chippers with Gravity Feed
  2. Combination PTO Chipper / Shredders
  3. Standard PTO Chippers with Hydraulic Roller Feed 

This guide will give you some pointers to consider so that you can choose the best chipper for your application. 

What Material Are You Dealing With?

Perhaps one of the most crucial considerations is the material you will need to chip. Many NZ rural blocks deal with tree waste from exotic species such as pine, macrocarpa, and gum. These species generally all chip well through a standard PTO disc chipper. 

Orchard waste, such as from avocado trees and fruit trees, can be challenging to manage as branches are often very twisted. If you’ve got a whole orchard to deal to, a hydraulic roller feed machine, while more expensive, will make the job a lot faster as there will be less pruning required. 

If you’ve got fibrous material, speak to an expert about your specific application. For example, bamboo will chip through most standard PTO disc chippers, but flax won’t. 

How Much Use Will the Wood Chipper Get?

Inexpensive, basic PTO wood chippers are more than suitable for hobby farmers with the occasional branch or two to chip. However, the more you need to use a chipper, the more critical it is to purchase a capable unit with more expensive features, such as the hydraulic roller feed machines. 

For commercial applications, such as hedge cutting contractors, avocado orchardists, or dairy farmers looking to produce chip for calf bedding, hydraulic roller feed should be considered as it drastically reduces your pruning time. 

What Are You Using Wood Chip / Wood Mulch For?

One of the main reasons for owning a chipper is to get mulch. A standard PTO Chipper is all you require if you’re using the mulch for general garden use. It produces larger chips that are less susceptible to wind and erosion. 

If you’re using the mulch for calf bedding or other animal bedding, a standard PTO Chipper produces a nice size chip for animal bedding. A chipper shredder’s mulch will be too fine for this purpose. 

If you’re on a larger farm, consider a hydraulic feed chipper. They have much higher productivity rates than standard gravity feed PTO Chippers. Those looking to use wood chip for compost can generally use any chipper, but a chipper/shredder machine produces a finer mulch which breaks down faster in the composting process. 

The Importance of Quality in a Wood Chipper

Wood chippers are high-impact machines with steel smashing against timber at hundreds of revs per minute. If something goes wrong, it goes wrong quickly. 

Blade quality is crucial. If blades aren’t made of the right steel, they will dull quickly, and performance will drop off, decreasing not only the feeding efficiency of the chipper but increasing fuel consumption and horsepower requirement. 

As a result, the quality of steel and welding in the chipper construction is important. With a wood chipper, the old adage of ‘the bitterness of poor quality lasts long after the sweetness of low price has been forgotten’ is all too true. At Taskpower, we come across many customers who have wasted money on poor quality chippers, only to purchase a good quality machine later. Buy it once and do it properly. 

Warranty & Aftersales Support

When buying a chipper, you’re spending quite a sum of money on the machine. At Taskpower, we stock a range of spare parts, have staff with many years of technical experience, and offer manufacturer warranties on all our machines. 

Ask For Help With Your Next Tractor-Powered Wood Chipper Purchase

When you see the number of tractor-powered wood chippers for sale in NZ, it’s easy to feel overwhelmed. While this information above may help you narrow down your options, don’t be afraid to approach a reputable supplier to discuss your needs and receive recommendations.

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