Labour challenges key focus for manufacturer

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22 November 2022
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Tong demonstrates a new vision for efficiencies at LAMMA 2023.

POST-HARVEST labour challenges have become a key focus for machinery manufacturer Tong Engineering which will demonstrate its latest equipment advances at the UK’s largest agricultural machinery show, LAMMA, in January.

Sales Director Charlie Rich said as the industry has experienced difficulties in sourcing reliable labour to effectively grade and sort crop, minimising crop mileage and associated costs has become more important than ever.

“Reducing costs and maximising efficiencies are a priority for everyone right now, and there’s no doubt that vegetable growers and producers faced a common set of challenges throughout the 2022 harvest season,” he said. 

Charlie said Tong is continually developing its equipment to overcome these challenges with automated solutions. 

“A number of our new product developments have really come into their own during harvest. In particular, the FieldLoad PRO and our industry-leading Caretaker mobile grader have proved very popular once again, with the latest technologies in automation and optical sorting options being key drivers for equipment upgrades. We have manufactured several Caretakers with integrated optical sorting facilities and this option is now available on the latest models of the FieldLoad PRO too.”

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The FieldLoad PRO, which cleans and loads the crop in the field, straight from the harvester, saw record UK sales in 2022 as well as well as interest from overseas producers as far as Australia and Canada. It means fewer operators are needed and there is no unnecessary carting of soil as all soil and debris is left in the field. 

Meanwhile, Tong's optical sorting live event has been running throughout 2022, giving growers an opportunity to see how post-harvest handling efficiencies can be maximised when integrating optical sorting for stone and debris removal. 

Charlie said: “Those customers who specified machines with camera-sorting facilities this year have seen significant cost and time savings owing to a dramatically-reduced reliance on the workforce. In addition, by integrating optical sorting, yield is also noticeably increased owing to consistency in sorting good crop from bad.”

As well as automated sorting systems, Tong will showcase its range of vegetable washing solutions at LAMMA, alongside the latest models of its box and big bag-handling equipment.

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