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Facma: groundbreaking solutions for chestnut cultivation

by Marcello Ortenzi
July - August - September 2022 | Back

Facma is a company based in Vitorchiano (Viterbo, Italy) that has been designing and manufacturing technologies for nuts, including chestnut cultivation, for 50 years. Michela Bellachioma, the daughter of one of the founders of the Viterbo-based company, speaking at a conference on chestnut cultivation held last May 28 in Marradi (Florence), explained how the Lazio-based manufacturer could boast a wide range of solutions for this particular type of cultivation.

From harvesting machines to mechanical means for soil preparation to cleaning systems, starting with shredders. The shredders are traditionally used for shredding grass and other plant residues, but they are also used in chestnut cultivation for soil preparation, preliminary to the harvesting of the crop. Equipped with a rear roller and a hammer axle, Facma's in-house shredders make it possible, in fact, to level and compact the soil, mechanically removing plant residues without resorting to herbicides and without impacting the environment. In the field of harvesters, one of Facma's flagship machines is the Cimina model, expressly designed to work the crop gently and to offer absolute performance on sloping or hard-to-access terrain. Using the Cimina harvester in inaccessible areas requires the prior construction of small access roads and areas where the tractor and trailed machine can stand in impervious areas.

Before harvesting, it is advisable to use back-mounted or tractor-applied blowers to convey the chestnuts to particular collection points: here, after being windrowed, the crop is sucked out of the machine with pipes up to 25 meters long. While not eliminating manual work altogether - in fact, it requires the use of three operators, one for the tractor and two for the tubes - this system is highly effective because it allows harvesting even in mountainous areas. It is also appropriate for small farmers and, at the same time, will enable chestnuts to be removed from their husks and up to 95 percent of impurities to be removed. The Cimina harvester, which can be equipped with side brushes and a picker, is also available in a self-propelled version. This model is designed for more comfortable terrain (up to a maximum 20 - 30 ° slope), equipped with a front brush (up to 3 meters wide) that conveys the product to a central suction pipe. Facma's self-propelled harvester only requires one operator and given the harvesting speed, allows for multiple passes that significantly reduce the time the chestnuts are on the ground, achieving a better quality of the final product.

Similarly, the Semek harvester is a self-propelled model, but unlike Cimina, it does not rely on suction technologies. As a matter of fact, Semek uses a faster, mechanical harvesting system that can only operate on more level ground. In its wide range of chestnut technologies, Facma can boast post-harvest cleaning and drying systems that act on any residue left by harvesters (which already clean up to 95 percent of the product). Besides conveyor belts and separating fans, this range includes sorting belts, washing tanks, and sizing machines.


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