A Wiltshire farmer has established a highly successful horse bedding business over the last six years and recently took delivery of a Kramer 350 compact loader to help streamline the manufacturing process in order to meet increasing demand for its high quality, dust extracted products.
Chipmunk Equine is the result of owner Ian Baxter's desire to diversify away from arable farming on his 800 acres of land at Larkhill which happened to contain several large redundant buildings. The bedding business has now grown to a point where it represents around 50% of total income, with customers as far apart as Jersey and the Isle of Mull.
The plant is currently processing approximately 20 tonne of pine trunks every day to produce around 10 tonne of bagged shavings - the large weight difference resulting from the removal of high levels of moisture in the raw material by means of a wood-fired drum dryer.
When Chipmunk Equine was first established, one of the items of machinery chosen was a small articulated loader which, although very useful, lacked stability when handling full loads. So when a second machine became necessary, this time dedicated to loading the dried shavings into a new state-of-the-art baling press, Mr. Baxter was keen to find a machine not only small and manoeuvrable enough to operate within the confines of his buildings but also with the stability to handle a large capacity, in-house constructed bucket at full tipping height.
Also, unlike the original machine, it was decided that the new unit should be equipped with a cab in order to provide the operator with a safe and pleasant workplace in what is often a very dusty environment. All these requirements led to the choice of a Kramer loader from local dealer, Mill Engineering of Pusey.
The model 350 selected by Chipmunk Equine is powered by a Yanmar 3-cylinder diesel engine developing 23 kW (31 hp) and, like all Kramer machines, features both 4-wheel drive and 4-wheel steer. The unit weighs in at 1720 kg, has an overall width of just 1200 mm and can handle loads of up to 1000 kg with a maximum dump height of 2.25 m.