23 September
31 December 2013

Mécanisation de la culture de la chicorée industrielle

Mechanisation of the chicory harvesting


The chicory crop, presented some years ago as similar to the one of sugar beet, appears more and more as a full crop, having its own requirements concerning farming and mechanisation works. Chicory surface area evolved from more than 15.000 ha to about 7.000 ha following the fructose reform. The Department, in collaboration with groups of planters and sugar industries, tries to analyse the quality of the work carried.


We distinguish tests of seeders, harvesting equipment and chicory cleaning devices. Tests of precision seeders aim at measuring the working quality of several mechanical and pneumatic seeders, according to the type of seed (variety, coating, size). Because of its size, shape and fragility, the root of chicory requires an appropriate equipment for the harvesting. For this reason, during each harvesting period, different harvesters are followed on the field and comparative tests are carried out. Those gather normal beetroot equipment, modified equipment and equipment specific to chicory. For each of these equipment, the precision of the leave striping, the harvesting quality and the cleaning efficiency are linked to the quantity of broken roots measured. It is that way possible to determine the kinds of components working the best in given conditions. Since 2002, sugar industries use more and more pile cleaners. The tests aim at determining the performances (flowrate, breakage, tare reduction) of these devices.

Description of tasks

Seeding tests are carried out in the laboratory with a measuring test rig making it possible to analyse the parts of the seeder under standardized conditions. Likewise, this equipment is used to analyse the behaviour of seeds with different equipments.For harvesting equipment test, the equipments’ performances are analysed. The work quality is assessed according to the analysis of a root sample (breakage, leave striping, …) as well as by measuring the losses and quantities harvested. For pile cleaners, the loading flowrates are timed. The tare reduction is assessed by comparing the crane’s loading. The losses and breakage of the roots are determined by taking samples.

Results obtained

Seeder tests are a service proposed to sugar industries, manufacturers and seeders and allow to detect before seeding, the set of seeds susceptible of causing problems. Tests of harvesting equipment show that the use of a leave stripper equipped with a double rotor gives a better compromise, especially for irregular crops. The most efficient harvesting equipments are the fork and Oppel wheels, each of them having advantages and utilization limits. The use of decompactors on a chare slightly increases the uprooting quality. At last, the cleaning circuit must give a compromise between cleaning capacity and breakage limitations. Axial rollers seem to be an interesting solution. In practice, demonstrations are organized every year for professionals. At last, pile cleaners allow a pile reduction ranging between 35 and 70 % depending on the conditions. The loading flowrates are in general slightly lower to those of a crane. The losses of root pieces are around 2 %.


CABC, Sugar refineries of Warcoing and Orafti, CLO – Gent


  • CABC
  • Sucreries de Warcoing et Orafti