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Why Buy an Orbach?
  • In the long run, Orbach machines are the most economical mowers to use for the cutting of hay (See "What does it cost to cut hay?" below).
  • Orbach machines have been specifically designed and developed since 1991 for South Africa and African conditions and crops, for example Eragrostis grass. Continuous feedback from SA farmers helped developed this product into an excellent mower. Large overseas companies are mainly focused on turnover and the development of products exclusively for European conditions that are very different to that of Africa. Europe for example is not familiar with Eragrostis.
  • Orbach machines consist of a very strong frame with cutting drums/discs operating under the frame which come in contact with rocks and soil where the wear and tear occur. This frame is strong enough to last a lifetime, and the rest of the parts that can be mounted to the frame are always available. For this reason Orbach machines have the ability to last very long.
  • The unique Orbach operating patent replaced the gear-driven systems with V-belt propelled systems. This is much more practical and requires low maintenance, making this mower very cost effective and easy to maintain.
  • Orbach has the only mower that can cut in the field without the risk of rocks and objects damaging the machine.
  • Unlike other brands, Orbach decided to standardize bearings, seals, belts and pulleys which makes it easier for farmers to manage maintenance programs.
  • With all these added benefits pertaining only to Orbach machines, we can claim today that we are at the top of the list when it comes to performance of cutting abilities, neatness of cut, cutting speed and low wastage of hay of our machines.

    What does it cost to cut hay?

    With the choice of a cutting machine to perform a particular task, it is certainly very important to determine if the machine is able to do the task at hand, and more importantly how much it will cost to cut a ton of hay measured over a long period of time. Or how much will it cost to cut a hectare measured over a long period. Let's take a period of 20 years. Over this period all costs must be take into consideration such as: purchasing the machine, maintenance costs, diesel costs, wages of operators, and hay wastage of the mower. The maintenance costs of tractors are best left out of the equation because it can be complicated. It is only logical that the more tractors used, the higher the costs. And the harder the tractors work, the higher the wear and tear and therefore the higher the costs.

    Let 's say the task is to cut 10 Ha Eragrostis grass per day. There are 500 Ha to be cut twice a year over a period of 20 years. Which mower will be the most economical? In other words, which cutting machine can do the job the cheapest?

    We accept (Calculated in January 2011):
  • Diesel costs R7.50 per litre.

  • Eragrostis grass costs R600 per ton.

  • Rotary blade cutter of 1.8 cutting width cuts 0.33 ha/hour.

  • The Orbach mover (2.2 meters) and imported 6 disc mower (2.4 meters), cut 1 Ha /hour. (These figures were tested in the same field).

  • To cut 10 Ha/day the following will be needed: one Orbach SM 2200 mower or three rotary blade cutters of 1.8 meters, or one 6 disc imported disc mower.

  • Life expectancy of Orbach machine is 12000 hours, that of the rotary blade cutters is 8000 hours and that of the imported small disc mower is 2000 hours. With life expectancy we imply the hours that the machine can work until the maintenance is too high and it is cheaper to buy a new machine. (Figures are rounded averages from farming clients).

  • Maintenance of the Orbach machine over 20 years is R85000. Maintenance of the three rotary blade cutters over 20 years = R111000. Maintenance costs of the imported 6 disc cutting mower = R192000. (These figures are averages from farming clients).

  • Wastage figures from Agricultural Engineering for disc and drum cutting machines: 2.5 %, and for rotary blade cutters: 18%.

  • Replacement costs over 20 years (new machines) for Orbach = R0, for rotary blade cutters = R0 and for imported disc mower = 4 x R75000 = R 300 000

  • Prices of new machines are based @ R59000 for Orbach SM 2200, R 75000 for the imported six disc mower and 3 x R 30000= R 90000 for the 1.8m rotary blade cutters.
    Everyone will most likely not agree 100% with all of the
    figures, but the averages are what we obtained from our farming clients' own experiences. The figures present a broad perspective of cutting costs over a long period.

     Processed Figures Below:


Calculated Cutting Costs over a Long Period
Details of Costs Involved ORBACH SM2200 3 rotary blade cutter Imported Disc Mower
  (2.2 metre) (1.8 metre) (6 Spool 2.4 Metre)
Eragrostis grass cut over 20 years in tons 32,000 32,000 32,000
Initial capital invested in machines R 59,000.00 R 90,000.00 R 75,000.00
Replacement of machines over 20 years R 0.00 R 0.00 R 300,000.00
Maintenance costs over 20 years R 85,000.00 R 111,000.00 R 192,000.00
Fuel costs over 20 years R 492,800.00 R 1,478,400.00 R 492,800.00
Value of cut Eragrostis grass over 20 years R 19,200,000.00 R 19,200,000.00 R 19,200,000.00
Wastage because of the effectiveness of the cutting machine (20 years) R 480,000.00 R 3,456,000.00 R 480,000.00
Operator wages over 20 years @ R 140/day R 112,000.00 R 336,000.00 R 112,000.00
Total cutting costs over 20 years (without tractor maintenance) R 1,228,800.00 R 5,471,400.00 R 1,651,800.00
Cost per Hectare over this period R 153.60 R 683.93 R 206.48
Cost for this period per Ton cut Eragrostis R 38.40 R 170.98 R 51.62
If inflation were taken into account the costs would have been even more, and if tractor maintenance were added the rotary blade cutters' cutting costs would look more bleak. It is very clear that the Orbach machine, due to its lower maintenance costs, long life expectancy and high efficiency, is by far the cheapest and best option in the long run. Many farmers argue that a rotary blade cutter works out the cheapest over a long period but this machine is by far the most expensive cutting machine for cutting hay.


Orbach Agri has made ​​a major breakthrough with the V-belt drive system of the Orbach machines (which does not need to be synchronized), to make the machine much tougher with longer life expectancy. This patented V-belt drive system can endure long hours of hard work and its maintenance is easy and cheap. The SPB heavy duty belts come standard and are available at any dealer. The operating system in the picture does not only protect the gearbox, but also transforms the cutting machine into a rock resistant unit. Round cutting discs/drums ensure that the cutting unit does not collide with the rocks, only the cutting blades. Stones will not damage the machine.
Photo shows the main frame of a SM2200 cutting machine. These frames are made ​​strong to last very long. All the components mounted onto the frame are replaceable. This characteristic is very important for farmers in order to keep capital expenditures down to the minimum over longer periods. It also guarantees a high reselling and second-hand price because it is always possible to convert older models into a new machine.
This is one of the first Orbach machines, built in 1991, still hard at work cutting tef at high speed.
One of the great features of an Orbach machine is that it still cuts cleanly and neatly at a very high forward speed. The reason being the high blade speed of 85 meters/sec. The picture shows an experiment where the tractor is moving at a ridiculously high speed and the favourable result can still be seen here.
The Orbach cutting unit seen from the side. The upper circular disc serves as the cutting disc. This disk rotates at about 1800 rpm with a cutting blade speed of 85m/s. This very high blade speed ensures a nice clean cut with minimal plant damage. The cut material now falls onto the cutting disc and moves down without the blades cutting the hay again. The bottom disk doesn't turn. It carries the machine and simultaneously control the cutting height by following the ground contour. The cutting height can be adjusted by making the "top link" shorter or longer. The fingers that sit above the cutting disc, are bolted to the main shaft and rotates to help feed the cut hay to the back.
In the photo a SM2200 is cutting very thick Smuts finger grass. Because of the low KW requirements of the machine, a high forward speed can still be maintained which guarantees economical fuel consumption. Experiments have shown that up to 60% saving in fuel consumption can be achieved by cutting with an Orbach machine instead of a rotary blade cutter.


This open unit shows how the cutting blade is hooked onto the pin on the blade bracket. This makes it easy to turn around or swop a cutting blade in 5 seconds. The blade bracket is bolted onto the cutting disc with one hard and one soft bolt. When the cutting blade collides with a big stone, the soft bolt could likely break, but not the hard one. In this way the blade bracket would not be lost and the cutting can proceed by simply swinging the blade bracket back into position and replacing the soft bolt (break bolt).
To turn or replace the cutting blade takes less than 10 seconds.
The maintenance program for the Orbach mower is limited to belts, cutting blades, blade brackets, bearings and seals. All the belts, bearings, and seals come standard and are available from local bearing agents.