This year, the New Zealand wine industry, along with the rest of the country, has faced some challenging times. The country went into lockdown just before harvest and created some immense challenges for wineries, harvesting contractors and growers as they produced what will forever be known as the Covid-19 vintage. While these difficulties were overcome by implementing innovative new processes and working methods, the industry still faces some significant challenges.
The first challenge to face is the Autumn and Winter pruning season. This is the busiest season for hands-on tasks in the vineyard, and traditionally New Zealand would see an influx of trained RSE workers arriving into the country to carry out critical pruning tasks. With the borders closed there is going to be a significant shortage of skilled workers this season, so operators will likely rely on machinery to play an essential role in this years pruning season.
To help negate some of the challenges faced by the labour shortage, Landlogic has imported several KMS Rinklin Pre-Pruners/Barrel Pruners. These German-built machines can be customised to work for most tractor set-ups and vineyard conditions, and significantly reduce manual pruning requirements and worker fatigue.
The robust knives, made of stainless cutlery steel, move in such a way that it is impossible to cut through the wires, and the superior post-detection system means operators can prune much lower than if using a vineyard trimmer. Sensitive feelers identify upcoming posts and trigger sensors that open and shut the cutting heads automatically.
The system works for all post types; wood, metal or plastic, and unlike designs that rely on light sensors to trigger the open/close function, KMS Rinklin Pre-Pruners can be used on vines with or without foliage.
The post-detection system is also easily programmed by the operator, in the cab, to suit different ground speeds, and terrain where post angles vary (uphill or downhill).
The Starlight 400 is an excellent entry-level machine suited to smaller vineyards and where only one pruning length is required. The Starlight 400 offers a fixed-length cutting head that cannot be extended unlike big brother the Vario 400.
The Vario 400 is a top of the range, robust machine suited to larger vineyard operations. The Vario 400 cutting head can be extended for varying methods of pruning and extensions can be customised to suit all canopy types and heights.
With plant health in mind, KMS Rinklin has developed an ‘Exact-Disc’ bottom cutting knife which provides a cleaner cut, in comparison to a standard star/saw set-up, which improves the plant healing process.
Landlogic has a number of Pre-Pruners in-stock throughout their dealer network, and have a pre-mounted John Deere 5R Tractor and KMS Pre-Pruner package available to hire in Marlborough.