A significant part of winter pruning costs are taken up by pulling out the cut canes from the wirework. 

On average 40% to 45% of the total winter labour cost is taken up in this activity. In order to see if it is possible to reduce that cost Vitifruit Equipment have loaned their Provitis VSE 430 machine to Chapel Down Vineyard for a trial lasting a number of days. 

This trial will give a true account of performance and will be used to compare it to their traditional hand pulling out method. It is hoped that significant cost savings will be seen as the machine is capable, with one operator, to pull out three hectares per day. 

When Vitifruit Equipment initially studied the system in the Loire valley the vigneron was pulling out between three to four hectares per day whilst also mulching the prunings with a flail mower at the rear of the tractor. With this reduction in overall time taken in the vineyard he was also able to get on with pruning faster (as there was no manual pulling out) and reduce the number of people employed during pruning. 

To get the machine to work to its full capacity some initial work is required at the time of secateur work to place the cut canes in the appropriate position so that they can easily be pulled out sideways from the trellis, and one or more wires may need to be dropped or lifted to ensure a continuous flow of canes through the machine. 

The machine itself sits on a multi function mast which can also be used with a trimmer, de leafer, multi brush bud rubber/weed strimmer, pre-pruner, canopy lifter and tucking in tool. All these tools are available for hire or sale from Vitifruit Equipment.