Sustainability steps – a new mechanical weeder brings big benefits

Double sided under vine weeding

We have invested in a double sided weeding machine, that works a single row from both sides. This is a piece of kit that has been on the market for a couple of years and which we have been monitoring closely. The equipment is attached to the front of the tractor with forks on either side that mechanically shovel weeds away and importantly have mechanical sensors that stops them from cutting (and therefore killing) the vines.  

More efficient, less fuel, more sustainable

Our older machine was only able to do one side at a time, which meant double the passes up and down the rows of vines compared to the new one. The advantages are clear; less time, less fuel, less impact on the soil and less damage to the vines, as this machine is more accurate.  We also continue to do two jobs at the same time where possible. In this instance we mow on the back as the tractor is still moving slowly at around 3km per hour. 

The aim of both of these processes is to keep as much air flowing cleaning through the vines as possible to reduce airborn funghi, such as mildew, taking hold in more humid conditions. Mildew attacks the health of the leaves and reduces photosynthisis, which is so vital to strong sturdy plants.

As you will be aware businesses like ours struggle to find people to work in the vineyards and advances in technology like this is a win win for everyone.  Our employees love learning something new, they enjoy the diversity of their roles and being more efficient reduces the pressure and drives up the quality of their work.

You can see the machine in action here.

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