How did an oil palm cutter’s productivity progress from 3 hectares harvested per day in the left photo to the 9 hectares in the photo on the right? Was it by just replacing the loader on the left with the grabbing mechanical arm on the right?
You can understand that it was not an easy matter for Mr Thayaparakanthan of Sime Darby to explain to the 100+ planters assembled at the MEOA seminar in October 2017 at Eurostar Malacca HQ (the seminar was titled “Mechanise or Perish” as MEOA VP at the time reminded us of this week in this very space).
Thaya (as he likes to be called) was challenged even before he had finished presenting the Sime Darby SD3 process that made possible the 9 hectares harvested/day/cutter. It should be mentioned that most planters in the room owned undulating terrain plantations or peat. Hardly any coastal flat estates of the likes of Carey Island.
Also present in the room when Sinar Mas top agronomy & Digital Transformation Team came visiting Carey Island West Estate 2 years on when these gentlemen confirmed the 9 hectares per day productivity of SD3. They did so again as recently as December 2021 during a Visio.
This is why, 5 years on, you are reading here about the impending arrival of a mechanical arm capable of harvesting 9 hectares per day in one 8h shift and more in 2 shifts. Next week you will learn how this revolutionary harvesting machine finds a ripe bunch, cuts it & brings it down in one piece before evacuating it – yes no loose fruits.
Does it do so every single minute of every hour for a whole 8-hour shift like an SD3 gang?
More importantly, does it do so with less manpower than an SD3 gang?
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