Trying to manage a small estate in Devon, I am not sure whether I need a chipper or a shredder. We are looking to produce compost. Can you offer any advice?

It all depends on the waste being generated. There is a big difference between chippers and shredders — something that needs to be understood.
Chippers are designed for timber and brushwood. They usually have knife-type blades and work with a chopping action to cut the wood into chips. Shredders, on the other hand, tend to work on a hammer-mill principle and — as the name implies — shreds the material. Shredders will work on a wide range of material, including briars, shrub prunings and hedge clippings. They cope well with weeds and rootballs but they are limited in the size of woody material they can process.
Consider both the type of waste and the volume. If you only have large woody material once in a while, it will be better to hire a chipper, or call in a contractor, when needed. If most of the waste is general green waste from pruning, hedgecutting and weeding operations, your best option will be a shredder. You may also be able to process cardboard and other degradable packaging items through a shredder.
The volume of material will determine the power rating of the machine required. Also, consider less expensive PTO-driven options. They have no engine, though, so you need a tractor to power them.
It is also worth noting that several companies offer combination chipper-shredders. Probably the best known of these is the Eco-Combi from GreenMech. This is a 35hp unit with a no-stress power control and automatic shut down in the event of overheating or low oil pressure. At the chipping end it will take clean timber up to 15cm in diameter, and the shredder unit processes material up to 5cm — complete with soil, stones or nails. It will also process wet green material. The price is close to £16,000 ex VAT.
Liston Equipment also offers large chipper-shredders with engine power from 48hp to 70hp. These have a drum/rotor type mechanism. Pinnacle Power Equipment supplies a wide range of smaller units, including 26hp or 18hp engines and costing £14,000 and £7,725 respectively. For about £3,000 and £4,500 you could look at the PRO H and Pro H HDY from Pinnacle. These have 13hp engines and process material 7cm in diameter. Two 10cm-capacity machines are available from Globe Organic Services of Solihull, including a tractor-mounted version. The Greenline 544 requires 25hp minimum and costs £5,350 ex VAT. Alternatively, the engine version is powered by a 27hp Lombardini diesel engine and costs £12,800 ex VAT. Globe also has smaller units, costing in the region of £2,800 and having 10cm capacity. There is also a PTO-driven one requiring 13hp but with a price tag of £1,895.
But if you are looking for something smaller still, and only want to spend up to £2,000, it’s worth looking at the following: Pinnacle Power’s 6.5hp Pro and 9hp MAJH with 4cm capacity; Globe Organic 9hp chipper/shredders with 7.5cm capacity; Tracmaster’s Camon C80 and C150 with 6.5cm and 9cm capacities respectively; Charterhouse Turf Machinery’s Galgi All In One Chipper/ Shredder with 6cm capacity; Countax’s Chipper/Shredder, also with 6cm capacity; and FGM Claymore’s Masport and Simplicity machines with 6.5cm capacity.
As you are looking to make compost, check the chippings and shreddings are fine and, most importantly, consistent.

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