Monday, 16 March 2009

Pruning....Automatic?

There are many parts of the viticultural year that have benefited from innovation and progress. Harvesting machines are the most obvious advancement from the traditional hand pickers.
These innovations take time to bed in and they also normally have critics from the older generation.
One area of grape growing that has not really had much advancement over the years is pruning. Apart from the introduction of electrical sheers rather than manual sheers...which has reduced the arthritic problems and tendinitis.
Every vine grows in a different way. The branches develop and shoot over in all directions. Therefore the pruning and more importantly the selection of the next years growth has always been done by a human. How can a machine make a judgement on a healthy shoot? How can a machine decide what looks good or bad to cut?
Well.....the Americans have come up with a new machine that will halve the labour costs and speed up the pruning....click the link here. Will we be seeing the first robot pruners in the Minervois soon?

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