click image to zoomGreg JohnsonFrank Maconachy, president of Gonzales, Calif.-based Ramsay Highlander, stands with its new automated thinning machine, on display during the World Ag Expo, Feb. 12-14 in Tulare, Calif. He says it can thin 12 acres of lettuce in 8 to 10 hours, which eliminates the need to hire a thinning crew of 14-20 people.TULARE, Calif. — Ramsay Highlander’s automated thinning machine is now for sale industrywide.
Frank Maconachy, president of the Gonzales-based company, said the machine is no longer in an exclusive contract, and is available this season. The thinning machine is designed for iceberg lettuce and uses a vision system that can thin rows of 4-, 5- or 6- seed lines, Maconachy said.
“An operator just drives it up and down the field,” he said.
Ramsay Highlander displayed the machine at the World Ag Expo Feb. 12-14.
The machine is made of stainless steel, Maconachy said, and it costs about $250,000. This is version 2.0, he said, and it can finish 12 acres in about 8-10 hours, eliminating the need to pay workers to do the job by hand.
He said grower feedback at the expo was excellent, and the company was setting up field demonstrations this spring.