A chaff cutter is used to cut straw, tall grass, fodder or hay into small pieces before feeding to the animals or mixing. Processing fodder this way makes it easy for the animals to digest and prevents animals from rejecting parts of the food. They enhance productivity and make work easier in a farm. Chaff cutters can either be manual or powered.
Powered chaff cutters are the most common because they make work quick and easy. These chaff cutters can either have cylinder heads or a flywheel which determines how they cut fodder.
The flywheel chaff cutters have radial knives that rotate to cut fodders. The number of knives installed depends on the size of fodder required. Increasing the knives reduces the size of the cut fodder. Flywheel chaff cutters are the most commonly used since they are cost effective, require low maintenance and are more versatile.
The cylinder head chaff cutters have the knives put on a revolving cylinder much like they are in a rotary mower. As the cylinder rotates, the knives move with it and cut incoming fodder. These chaff cutters are not very commonly used.
Both these variants however have the same operation and only differ in how the blades rotate to cut fodder. When using a chaff cutter, the fodder is introduced through an apron. A motor, usually diesel or electric powered rotates the knives to cut the fodder. Many models allow the speed of the engine to be adjusted to suit the type of fodder being cut and the size required.
Manual chaff cutters usually have only two blades that are moved manually by rotating the flywheel to reduce the size of fodder. Manual chaff cutters are only suitable for use where low output is required. They are silent during operation since they are not powered and keep running expenses down. When expenses are reduced, the farmer enjoys more profits.