Published on Mon, 08/17/2015 - 5:24pm

By Steve Weisman

Growing from its agricultural beginnings over 20 years ago, Rotochopper, Inc. ventured into many other industries and has been releasingthe potential in resources like wood fiber, agricultural residue, green waste, and asphalt shingle scrap by supplying innovative grinding, coloring, and bagging equipment. Since Rotochopper, Inc., began manufacturing grinding equipment, a wide range of companies, from international wood product companies to 1-person tree care services, have turned to Rotochopper for practical solutions to their challenging biomass and recycling applications. The ever-changing agricultural market is now proving to be another perfect fit for the high volume processing capabilities of Rotochopper horizontal grinders.

“Perfect in One Pass!” That is the commitment of Rotochopper, Inc., ( a company that designs, builds, and supports a complete line-up of horizontal grinders, wood chip processors, asphalt shingle grinders, and mobile bagging systems from a state-of-the art manufacturing facility in St. Martin, Minnesota.

Steve Pieper, the Midwest Sales Representative for Rotochopper, says, “Although Rotochopper grinders are used in a wide range of industrial recycling situations, Rotochopper started in the agriculture business, and as farms have gotten larger, our grinders fit in well with their needs. We do a lot of our testing on-site at several farms close to our manufacturing facility.”

Rotochopper, Inc., offers a wide range of options for the agriculture industry. Rotochopper horizontal grinders offer simple solutions for grinding anything that needs to be processed on the farm.

Rotochopper grinders are adept at grinding materials, with demanding particle size specifications such as high moisture corn and specific bedding requirements. Likewise, they are excellent at handling both large round and square bales, offering farmers the perfect feedstuffs.

According to Michael Hundt, the Midwest Regional Sales Manager for Rotochopper, “Many of our employees are currently farmers or have ties to farming. They have a true passion for what they do. Rotochopper, Inc., sells products around the globe. We also have a network of outstanding service technicians at locations around the country with fully equipped trucks to keep you running.”


High Moisture Shell Corn Grinding

A time-consuming job on farms is grinding high volumes of shell corn. Often this takes more than one machine and the results often end up short of the desired product. A single Rotochopper can replace a complex assortment of equipment, while at the same time offering a one-step process that minimizes handling costs and takes care of loss from spillage. 

Although other grinding systems can process high moisture shell corn, few grinding systems can match Rotochopper’s level of horsepower efficiency. With many other grinders, a large percentage of the corn kernels pass through the machine with barely a scratch. Shell corn is already smaller than the particle size most grinders can achieve.

Rotochopper grinders offer the fine-grinding capacity to take shell corn down to 100 percent-¼ inch minus in a single pass, with no un-cracked kernels.

Rotochopper offers a wide range of sizes and horsepower (diesel or electric) to match the producer’s volume requirements, work environment, and other critical factors. Available from 125 to 950 horsepower, Rotochopper grinders can process 900 to 5,000 bushels per hour. Whether you want to grind between the field and the bunker during the peak of harvest season or grind as needed on a daily basis, Rotochopper has a grinder to meet any farmer’s needs.


Have Rotochopper – Will Travel

When John Noyes, owner of Rugged Rock in Minneota, Minnesota, purchased a Rotochopper B-66 in 2013, he did so to grind railroad ties into boiler fuel for use in power plants. The power of the B-66 allowed Noyes the ability to grind up to 4,000 ties a day. Little did he know, however, that the machine also works great as a large volume, high- moisture corn grinder. With his B-66 Rotochopper, Noyes is able to replace a complex assortment of equipment, which included three tub grinders, along with gravity bins, augers, and front-end loaders to carefully meter the corn into the tub grinders. The only support equipment Noyes needs is a front-end loader with a bucket big enough to keep up with his B-66. Due to the speed of his grinder, he likes to see at least 20,000 to 30,000 bushels on the ground all ready for him when he arrives, as three combines cannot keep him busy.

Noyes says that his Rotochopper grinds the corn down to a very fine mix, perfect for dairy cattle. Farmers will either store the ground corn in bunkers or large agricultural silage bags.

Noyes never expected back in 2013, that he would become a traveling grinding service. Word has spread about what his B-66 can do, and Noyes expects to be very busy during the 6-8 week window this fall for grinding high-moisture shell corn. The good news is that Noyes has access to other Rotochoppers and can lease them if demand gets too great.

Reliability is a key word for the B-66. “There have been no problems grinding for farms. When we ground railroad ties, we would hit ¾” thick heavy steel tie plates every once in a while. We might have to replace a tooth, but we were up and running in an hour,” says Noyes.

To discuss custom grinding needs, farmers can contact Noyes at (507) 872-5940 or (507) 829-5500.


From Grinding Trees to High-Moisture Shell Corn

Steve and Deb Sylvester spent over 36 years in the tree and landscaping business in the Twin Cities area. Sylvester says, “We were one of the first businesses in the area to offer colored mulch from tree waste. We did a high volume business with whole sale garden centers, and we have owned four Rotochoppers.”

Then in 2012, Steve and Deb had the chance to sell the landscaping business and move full time to their 700-acre farm near Luck, WI. “Farming is fun, but I can’t just sit around when all of the work is done. When my non-compete clause was up, former customers started asking me to get back in the business. We now have a B-66T Rotochopper grinder with tracks, and we’re grinding lots of mulch.”

This fall will also be their first venture into grinding high-moisture shell corn for dairy farmers. According to Sylvester, using the B-66T can save farmers lots of money, because it’s all about speed and efficiency. Nobody likes to sit when the corn is being combined, but Sylvester says, “We can process a lot more volume than farmers are used to, up to 5,000 bushels per hour. It will be non-stop, instead of having to shut down and wait. One machine can keep up with four to five combines. It will definitely be a money saver.”

It will definitely be a busy 6-8 weeks beginning the end of September, but Sylvester says, “We’re ready to travel wherever farmers need our services.” For more information, contact Sylvester Custom Grinding at (715) 472-2157.


Animal Bedding

In many regions throughout the world, wood fiber animal bedding is a growing market, which sometimes rivals even colored mulch in profitability and growth potential.

Companies with steady wood waste streams often choose the animal bedding market as a steady outlet for wood fiber. Rotochopper offers several solutions for producing fine texture animal bedding from pallets, sorted C & D, and other wood fiber sources, including horizontal grinders with electric or diesel power and multi-stage grinders, which combine our horizontal grinders with hammermills.

The challenges of the animal bedding market showcase the Rotochopper “Perfect In One Pass” advantage. Bedding quality directly impacts animal comfort and health. Accordingly, farmers maintain strict specifications for particle size and texture, requiring a fine texture fiber mixture that is free of jagged edges. Some bedding applications need bedding that is virtually dust free, requiring the use of dust extraction equipment. No other grinding systems offer the flexibility to accommodate these demanding specifications like Rotochopper electric grinders and multi-stage grinders.

Rotochopper horizontal grinders excel at producing uniform fine texture wood fiber, thanks to unique features that prevent spears (over sized pieces) in the end product.

Once viewed merely as an acceptable alternative to traditional bedding sources when supplies were short, ground wood fiber is now winning favor with some farmers as a supplement or outright replacement for typical bedding sources because of its unique advantages.

For instance, animal bedding produced with a wood grinder does not compact and bind together as firmly as shavings or sawdust will. The rounded and frayed texture of ground wood fiber maintains air space to limit binding, while maximizing absorbency.


Pro Earth Environmental

For the past 17 years, Randy Rovang of West Union, Iowa. has been recycling using Rotochopper grinders. “I have had a Rotochopper since I started and have traded every couple years or so. Right now I have two MC 266 grinders.”

A huge part of Rovang’s business is providing animal bedding for producers within a 150-mile radius of West Union, which is located in the northeastern part of the state.

After grinding, Rovang bulk delivers to agricultural producers. “What I like about my two grinders is that they are very reliable. They are also extremely efficient and cost effective.”

To learn more about Rovang’s business, contact him at (563) 422-3012.


Access to a Rotochopper

Based on the size of the operation and the demand for grinding can help producers decide how to go about gaining access to a Rotochopper grinder. Obviously, new is always nice, but Rotochopper, Inc., also handles a line of factory refurbished equipment. Since Rotochopper grinders retain their value better than anything on the market, Rotochopper maximizes that value by refurbishing used grinders and offering them for sale.

Each refurbished grinder is completely inspected to determine the components that need replacement, repairs, or upgrades. After refurbishment, Rotochopper tests each grinder according to the same standards applied to brand new equipment. If you need to produce animal bedding, colored landscape mulch, process high moisture shelled corn, hay or corn stover or any other premium fiber products, you can do it with a refurbished or used Rotochopper grinder.

A third option is securing the help of a Rotochopper owner, who hires out to perform grinding services for others. This becomes a win-win for both owner and customer.