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Back-Mount Tree Shearer Cuts Costs by 80%
"A good operator can shear up to 3,000 trees a day with our new backpack shearer versus 300 to 500 trees working by hand," says Ernie Howe, Salem, Ore. about his company's new back-mount tree shearer which he and his brother Stan have used on their own tree farm for several years and began marketing last year.
The 30-lb. shearer has an 88-in. self-sharpening sickle blade and a 25 cc. 2-cycle gas motor, which mounts on the operator's back. A flexible driveshaft runs to a gearbox on the sickle. The operator handles the sickle with a raist-high handle that lets him reach up to trim trees up to 13 ft. high.
"Trimming trees by hand with a machete is extremely hard work and often by the end of the day you' get tired and the trees get uneven. This shearer always gives a perfect conical shape," says Howe who sells the machine through dealers throughout the country for $1295. Shorter versions with 72 and 60-in. blades are also available.
The Howe's also recently introduced a new "Tree Goat" tractor that's designed for work in trees but could also be adapted to work in tall-growing row crops. The 7-ft. tall, all-hydraulic tractor stands on four 6-in. dia. legs which are actually self-leveling hydraulic cylinders which raise and lower the platform. Each wheel steers and is hydraulically driven. The high-profile machine, 10 ft. long and 6 ft. wide, is powered by a 250-hp Ford engine. It self-levels automatically on up to 40? slopes.
"We're developing hydraulic-driven spray, mowing, shearing, cutting, and stand-up baling equipment for it. We plan to mount 3-pt. hitches on individual legs for between-row work," says Howe, noting that automation is increasing in the Christmas tree growing business due to increased competition. "There are so many trees expected to flood the market in the next few years that only those growers who automate will survive," he predicts.
Howe's high-lift tractor sells for $20,000 plus the cost of the engine, which can be selected from among several.
For more information, contact: FARM SHOW Followup, SAJE Unlimited, Inc., 1940 Hyacinth N.E., Salem, Ore. 97303 ( ph toll-free 800 354-4565 or 503 585-9511).


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1986 - Volume #10, Issue #2