The Provitis MP 122 has been used successfully in UK vineyards for the last three seasons and proved itself to be reliable and easy to use. Its function is to cut away the top 50cm or so of the canopy thus making the following manual pruning and pulling out far easier and therefore cheaper.
The overlapping discs cut the wood into small pieces which then fall away. The machine is relatively expensive to buy however the statistics for hire are significant and reduce the overall winter pruning bill by a healthy margin. Users include Yotes Court, Greyfriars and Hundred Hills where the machine averaged a forward speed of 5.4 kph covering around one hectare per hour or seven per day with an average cost of £70 per hectare.
Subsequent winter handwork is greatly reduced as little effort is required when pulling out. The machine height and tilt is easily set as it has the same in-cab controls as a trimmer which most people are familiar with. The driver sets the bottom blade at a height just below the tendrils so that when pruning with secateurs the branches pretty well fall away with no hand tugging.
Traditional hand pulling accounts for about 50% of the winter canopy management costs so this machine reduces that dramatically. The cutting head sits on a mast and is easily attached and detached in the same way as other tools in the range like the leaf wall trimmer, mechanical de-leafer, pneumatic de-leafer, Multi-Brush strimmer/bud rubber, tucking and tying in tool and cane puller. So for example if you already have a trimmer on a mast for summer work you take it off and fit the pre-pruner head or any of the other tools as needed without having to invest in another mast or control system. Vitifruit Equipment also has most of these tools available for hire.