Harrow counters vineyard weed issues
Fast tracking a new vineyard development throws up all sorts of issues and weed control on a new site is just one of them.
Oakdene’s new 15 hectare Drysdale vineyard is being planted in stages and project manager, Bob Swinburn said he faced two challenges.
“We had huge quantities of wireweed and nightshade growing on the site so the obvious choices were chemical or physical control.
“We chose mechanical control as I had witnessed in my previous tasks as a consultant to vineyards in the local area how effective a power harrow can be in eradicating and controlling the profusion of weeds.
Another consideration, he said, “was to avoid the use of chemicals when the new vines were just in the ground.”
Oakdene purchased a Silvan distributed Breviglieri power harrow with a 1.7 metre working width and cage roller and it is proving an ideal match for the 60 kilowatt tractor.
Mr Swinburn said the principal benefit is that the Breviglieri power harrow actually pulls the weeds and their tough root system right out of the ground to decompose.
It is a different approach to a rotary hoe which chops up weeds leaving them in the soil where they will probably root and grow again.
Another benefit is that the machine also leaves larger clods on top of the soil tilth and this is considered a plus for retention of moisture in the ground.
The Breviglieiri employs a phased rotor system enabling the cultivated soil to be moved from side to side and back again by a process of continuous movement along the midrow, so that instead of leaving a high point in the middle of the row, the soil is redistributed to fill the tyre ruts to the side.
The passing of the cage roller then evenly compacts the soil for a clean and even mid row behind the power harrow.
Silvan account manager, Chris Tait said the results are delighting everyone.
“The new vineyard block looks great and the benefits of a mechanical rather than an initial chemical solution to weed management on the new Drysdale site is to everyone’s satisfaction including in cost and results.”