Machine of the month: Machine alternatives

For vineyard managers looking for alternative, non-herbicide reliant methods to deal with weeds in what has always affectionately been known as the ‘spray strip’, Vitifruit Equipment supply Boisselet’s under-vine cultivator.

“Boisselet is probably the best of the under-vine cultivator manufactures,” said David Sayell at Vitifruit. “The firm has been producing vineyard equipment for over 100 years and we have been very busy, and successful in selling the weeding machines in the UK over the past 30 years. With increased demand we also now have two Boisselet systems available for hire.”

As well as being suitable for any sized vineyard tractor, the Boisselet system benefits from an array of different head attachments to tackle a range of scenarios. Being modular the machine can cultivate into the soil, breaking up compaction, and can also, if necessary, deal with what is happening above soil level with the strimmer and inter-vine mower. The output, in terms of hectares per hour, varies with how deep the machine is working.

“It is all about selecting the right tools to suit the vineyard’s soil type, slope, tractor and the task in hand,” said David. “I normally know which is the right Boisselet head attachment, but it depends on the situation and the ground. It is almost a bespoke system and when I go out and demonstrate the machine we will try each of the different head attachments, so we can see which one is most appropriate for that site.”

For growers who are concerned about damaging vines, the Boisselet’s mode of operation of steering the machine around the vine stem is very precise, powerful yet sensitive. It can also be adjusted for younger and older vines so that it is possible to get right up to the base of the vine to remove weeds and disrupt soils accurately.

Alongside the under-vine weeder, the Boisselet bud rubber is proving to work very well in UK vineyards.

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