As farmers and growers throughout the UK and Europe increasingly look for an alternative market for their sugar beet crop, Tong has designed a new range of heavy duty sugar beet handling equipment for efficient washing, de-stoning and loading of the crop prior to its use in Anaerobic Digestion (AD).
With the opportunity for significant electricity savings alongside the potential of a regular income for the crop, more and more sugar beet growers are looking towards the AD industry to help get the most out of their yield.
Edward Tong, Operations Director at Tong says “We have seen a noticeable rise in orders for sugar beet handling equipment as customers are looking to effectively de-stone and handle the crop for use in on-farm AD plants.”
Simon Gittins of WH Gittins & Sons/Wykey Farms and Guy Davies, have both recently installed AD plants on their farms and decided that sugar beet would be an important component. Currently, Wykey Farms inputs almost twenty three thousand tonnes of materials for AD each year, of which sugar beet is an increasing part. ”Sugar beet offers both a high yield in the field as well as high methane yield and a fast fermentation rate, meaning more of the sugar beet plant can be digested compared to other crops such as maize” said Mr Gittins.
With the shared need to effectively de-stone their sugar beet crop, Mr Gittins and Mr Davies made the decision to make a joint investment in a new vegetable barrel washer that could be used at both of their sites, to wash and remove stones from the crop at high speed whilst increasing their daily throughputs. With sugar beet being a large, hard and bulky crop in comparison to standard root crops, they also needed a washer that would withstand the demands of handling the crop.
Tong, the UK’s leading vegetable handling equipment manufacturer, offered Mr Gittins and Mr Davies the perfect solution, with a large mobile barrel washer, mounted on road wheels with a tractor drawbar for easy transport between sites. The barrel washer was manufactured with an integrated close coupled vegetable destoner, for the effective removal of stones from crop, and was designed using uprated components and heavy duty fabrication to ensure they had a robust and reliable washing facility that would stand up to demand.
As the beet is fed into the Barrel Washer it is met with a reinforced infeed chute for handling the tough crop at high speeds, enabling a throughput of up to 40 tonnes per hour. Fitted with a heavy duty Auger inside the barrel tank for the removal of soil and a pneumatically operated sluice valve to discharge the dirty water from the tank, the barrel washer effectively washes crop before it is discharged to the outfeed elevator with a final rinse spray bar.
“Because of the weight and bulk of the sugar beet, we needed a manufacturer that could supply us with machinery which would be strong enough to deal with the crop as we wash and de-stone it for use in our AD plants” commented Mr Gittins. “The mobile barrel washer from Tong was exactly what we were looking for and everything ran smoothly from initial design to delivery and commissioning.”
“We are not only processing our own sugar beet crop much more efficiently, the barrel washer offers us such high throughputs that we can wash our crop in much less time, leaving us able to hire the machine out to other growers to do the same job!” added Mr Davies.
Edward Tong added, “We take pride in developing handling equipment that meets farmers and growers changing needs. The mobile sugar beet washer we supplied for Mr Gittins and Mr Davies allows them to wash crop quickly and efficiently in any location they need.
“This heavy duty washing machine, as well as heavy duty loading hoppers, have been designed to offer sugar beet growers a range of equipment that is built to perform under the most demanding situations whilst helping them to save time and improve efficiency when processing sugar beet for use in AD facilities.”
“While various crops are suitable for AD, sugar beet is gaining popularity in the UK and Germany, due in part to last year’s high stocks and sugar beet prices remaining under pressure. Our range of sugar beet handling equipment has been designed to offer these growers the equipment they need to successfully process the crop prior to its use for this purpose.