Ongoing results of Weed Demo days
In early September 2005, six different pieces of weed control equipment were demonstrated in the vineyard. Four of these were mechanical weeders, one was a slasher that enables mowing under vines at the same time as the mid-rows and the other was a unit that delivers low volume herbicide spray precisely in the vine row.
Over 50 growers watched as the different models were put through their paces and now we are bringing you fortnightly updates of how weed growth is going in indicator rows for each unit.
As a general rule, the mechanical weeders did a great job of getting into and under the root systems of the visible weeds while, at the same time, providing a tillage action in the vine rows.
Three out of the four mechanical weeders were driven by inexperienced operators which resulted in a few unfortunate incidents where vines were accidentally chopped and a couple of feeder tubes to dripper lines were dragged out of their joiners.
These accidents serve to demonstrate two important things -
1. new operators need time to get a good feel for operating override functions to avoid such damage
2. it takes a few passes in each row for a vineyard to adapt to this sort of equipment particularly where rows might be a mixture of level or delved and delves may be mounded at different heights.
Weed activity wasn't particularly vigorous at the time of the demonstration days and the pruned canes had not been raked out of the vine rows so please take this into consideration when you are looking at the results. Perhaps results may have been more impressive if the canes had been removed earlier and the weeds had been given a chance to develop more fully - if we hold this event again next year, we'll take that into account.
So now we will watch with interest as the only form of weed control we will use over the next few months is to slash the mid-rows with the cuttings being thrown towards the vine-rows.
More follow up reports:-
Braun weeding equipment
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