This is a small video showing how large scale the peony cutflower trade has grown in Holland. The machine you are seeing is a Havatec Quality Buncher, which is normally used for preparing cut tulips, but the first ones have been adapted to be used for peony cutflowers as well in 2016. About a dozen of them were in use in 2018 for several peony growers in Holland, of course only those that grow a large number of them.
You lay your cut peonies on them, and then they are cut at the required length, defoliated, counted and bunched. Some 4,000 to 6,000 stems per hour are processed this way (including some time to change cultivars and machine settings). When working with shorter stems, that number rises to 7,000. The defoliation module is made of rubber so as not to damage the stems.
For those interested, they are priced between 70,000 and 95,000 euros (80,000 – 110,000US$), so it’s fair to say not for the average small acreage peony grower. And if you can only use it during peony season (and not outside of it for tulips or other flowers), it’s also a no-go probably as it will be hard to make any returns on such a hefty investment.
And here’s another video showing it in full action: