Mechanical pre-pruning is mooted by some in the know to save up to 40% of labour costs over the winter.

So there is a substantial benefit to be had in shortening the time spent in an otherwise laborious (and often cold) process.

The Clemens Pre-Pruner is available for demo this winter, and thus far has proved to be a quick and easy-to-use machine delivering consistent results and a clean canopy, ready for the hand pruning to follow.

The Pre-pruner head is mounted on Clemens’ front tool carrier the Atlas Mast, meaning several tools can be purchased without the need for a new mounting system each time – trimmers, over the row frames and shoot binders can be fitted and removed as needed. 

Two rotors have multiple knives set 100mm apart, hydraulically driven, with fast hydraulic powered opening to ensure that as few shoots are left around the post as possible. Opening is aided by a hydraulic accumulator, maintaining a constant pressure and therefore reaction time, season after season. The distance between the knives can be adjusted using spacers and depending on the conditions more or less knives can be used.

Operation is covered by the C-Smart joystick, meaning fewer hoses to the machine – particularly useful if the tractor has no mid-mounts. This enables cutting head opening at the press of a button, and height and angle adjustment all in one hand. The handgrip is fixed, so joystick controls are under the operator’s thumb; this prevents the machine from being operated inadvertently on rough ground. 

For the ultimate in ease of use, opt for the automatic opening system, this entails a camera that recognises each post and opens the cutting head automatically, meaning the operator can concentrate on forward speeds of up to 7km/h without having to worry about timing the opening correctly.