This is Phase II of a project dealing with producing ethanol from waste fruit from our 1300 tree orchard located in Macon County, Missouri. Our family farm of 175 acres consists of timber and pasture. The orchard is approximately 10 acres. We are attempting to produce enough ethanol from our waste fruit and waste fruit products to power our mowers and small tractor in the day to day operation of the farm and orchard.
PROJECT DESCRIPTION AND RESULTS
Our objective of this project and goal is to become more efficient in our production of ethanol for use within the orchard and farming operation. The gathering of the fruit from the orchard floor has been a laborious task and the creating of this machine to pick and sweep the floor picking up the waste fruit and also thatching the ground under the trees and between the rows will have positive affect on the overall condition and health of the orchard.
In addition to the obvious benefits of ease of picking up the fruit, the removal of dropped fruit from the ground will also aid in controlling the pest Plum Curculio which may have several life cycles within one growing season and removing the opportunity of harboring other pest in fallen fruit.
Another goal would be to provide others with the design or perhaps their own machine to aid in removing waste fruit.
As a machine designer and machinist by trade, I have in my background the needed information to design and build a machine to pick up the waste fruit. I have also consulted others in the design as well as searched the internet for ideas of others. My research has truly found little in the form of a machine that specifically picks up waste fruit.
I first began considering building a machine to perhaps do not only the pick up of the waste fruit but to also process it into juice. Eventually understanding the complexity of that initial intention, I revamped my design to concentrate on strictly picking up the fruit and making it an easy task to deposit the fruit in a specific area for processing and to do the cleaning of the orchard floor thoroughly.
List other producers or businessmen who assisted with the project and explain how they were involved. List any personnel from a public agency, such as the Extension Service, Natural Resources Conservation Services or Soil and Water Conservation Districts who may have assisted with this project.
Two other business men in my area have consulted, Lynn Tucker and Joel Hopson have given me input as to the design, etc.
Also Joe Koenan and Charles Chaney (since retired) from the University of Missouri Extension Office for my region here in North Central Missouri have both been a big help.
The results of this part of the project have been that we will now and in the future be able to easily remove the waste fruit without all the backbreaking work that we have had to do in the past.
The results of running this machine through the orchard were pleasing and expected. To be able to see a well kept and all the waste fruit picked up and removed from the ground with little effort other than driving between the rows is gratifying.
I’ve learned from winning this grant and the other subsequent grants that if you have an idea that is sound and viable to pursue it.
The positive affects related to this project and building this machine to the farming and orchard operation are and will be tremendous. Definitely overcoming the barrier of labor and backbreaking work.
I will be pleased to share with other producers and orchardists my design and results, providing them with this information on building the machine and the benefits from it to the health of the orchard.
Economic impact of this project related to my farm and orchard operation will be multiple. First, the speed and recovery of the fallen fruit will save much in labor expenses. Second, the production of ethanol that will be used on the farm and for mowing equipment, tractors used in the orchard will be another economic benefit. Environmentally the use of ethanol instead of fossil fuels will be a major plus contributing to the overall “green concept”.
I have told many about my project using the orchard forum as we have several thousand people come to our orchard yearly during the fruiting season. We also have a family Winery that draws many throughout the year.
I have also presented my projects at the SARE National convention this past year in Kansas City, Missouri and have presented in years past at the Farm Forum in Columbia, Missouri. I will be giving demonstrations throughout the summer and growing months using this machine in the orchard.
We will also develop a page on our website to and a PowerPoint program to show this machine working.
I have nothing but praise for the SARE Grant Program and feel honored to be included as a participant.