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Vineyard Pros and Cons of Machine Pruning

 

Vineyard Pros and Cons of Machine PruningMany vineyards have adopted mechanization strategies for their yearly pruning efforts.  Common reasons behind the mechanization movement include lower long-term costs and reduced labor dependence.  

 

In addition to labor concerns, mechanization may help to regulate yields by reducing shoot density of pruned vines and also produce higher-quality fruit.

  • Many vineyards have adopted mechanization strategies for their yearly pruning efforts
  • Common reasons behind the mechanization movement include lower long-term costs and reduced labor dependence
  • Help to regulate yields by reducing shoot density of pruned vines and also produce higher-quality fruit

Using Pruning Mechanization and Manual Hand Vineyard Pruning

Operations that do adopt mechanization usually do so in a selective way.  It isn’t unusual to see an operation only used mechanized methods for upwards to 45 percent of the pre-pruning and still the remaining 55 percent require up-close precision pruning.  The remaining grape varieties aren’t adaptable to mechanization because more input of nutrients and water is required to achieve the desired yields, specific characteristics of the grape, or both.

  • Operations that do adopt mechanization usually do so in a selective way 
  • It isn’t unusual to see an operation only used mechanized methods for upwards to 45 percent of the pre-pruning
  • Remaining 55 percent require up-close precision pruning
  • The remaining grape varieties aren’t adaptable to mechanization
  • Some varieties require more input of nutrients and water to achieve the desired yields, specific characteristics of the grape, or both

Vineyard Variety and Environmental Conditions May Not Allow Mechanization

Some pruning jobs can’t be entirely mechanized and require a fair amount of on-the-ground labor anyway because of environmental variables.  Also, the up-front cost for high-end pruning machines can be unattainable for small wineries just getting off the ground.  Large vineyards can afford the most expensive equipment.  In most cases it isn’t financially feasible for most vineyards to purchase the equipment.

  • Some pruning jobs can’t be entirely mechanized and require a fair amount of on-the-ground labor anyway because of environmental variables
  • Also, the up-front cost for high-end pruning machines can be unattainable for small wineries just getting off the ground
  • Large vineyards can afford the most expensive equipment
  • In most cases it isn’t financially feasible for most vineyards to purchase the equipment

Pruning the Vineyard by Hand in the Winter and Headge Shears in Summer

Many vineyards appreciate the lower upfront pruning tool cost and precision that manual pruning provides.  Some vineyards in the winter prune by hand, as the precise cuts required are better achieved by hand.  However, in the summer they prune using hedge shears because cuts don’t need to be as precise.

Pruning the Vineyard by Hand in the Winter and Headge Shears in Summer

  • Many vineyards appreciate the lower upfront cost and precision that manual pruning provides
  • Some vineyards in the winter prune by hand, as the precise cuts required are better achieved by hand
  • However, in the summer they prune using hedge shears because cuts don’t need to be as precise

Portable Battery Powered Vineyard Pruning Shears

Battery powered electric pruning shears have really given vineyards a big boost by combining both methodologies together.  Vineyards are able to reduce labor costs but utilizing less people and still retain the precision of the manual operator.  Not only does the vineyard achieve cost savings with increased productivity and precise cuts but also better overall health and happiness of the crew!

  • Battery powered electric pruning shears have really given vineyards a real boost by combining both methodologies together
  • Vineyards are able to reduce labor costs but utilizing less people and still retain the precision of the manual operator
  • Not only does the vineyard achieve cost savings with increased productivity and precise cuts
  • Better overall health and happiness of the crew
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