We have a new vineyard toy - the Pellenc Precision Pruner TRP! This is the toy I promised to tell you more about last week in "Pre-pruning the Vineyard". The TRP attaches on the front arm of the Pellenc 4560 as it straddles the vine row (like the pre-pruner).
The Pellenc Precision Pruner TRP (we just call it the TRP for short) will cut our pruning time by one half to two-thirds! That means that instead of pruning for 2 - ½ months, we will only be pruning for about a month!
If you could hear them speaking, my hands would be yelling "WooHoo!"
Unlike the pre-pruner, the TRP has four high speed saw blades powered by hydraulic motors, so it is a lot noisier (and scarier) than the pre-pruner. But what makes it special is a sensor that "sees" the cordon and automatically raises and lowers the blades to maintain a consistent cutting height.
As the TRP progresses down the vine row, two vertical saw blades out front cut off the sideways shoots. These blades are mounted with shock absorbers and springs to allow some play in the cutting zone - so we don't have to worry so much about cutting through the cordon arms and wire.
Following the side cutting blades are two horizontal blades which close together over the top of the vines. Their vertical position is constantly adjusted (raised/lowered) by a visual sensor which "sees" the woody cordon.
Below you can see the feed guides (red) at the bottom, then the vertical blades and shields (pan shapes), then the visual sensor (gray box on rt w/ warning symbols), then the horizontal blades and last the shields which protect the posts and blades from damaging each other.
Notice the second symbol from the top showing the hand with fingers being sliced off!
John watches carefully making any corrections from the cab of the Pellenc. The TRP can be driven at ~2 mph which equals ~2 acres per hour also.
Below, John has opened the forward vertical blades as he goes over a small vine on which he want to leave extra long shoots .
Now, they are back in their closed operating position.
Here you can see a vine that has been pre-pruned leaving about 10" shoots.
Now, look at the difference in the vine after the TRP has passed over it.
At this writing we have finished pruned ~11 acres following the TRP. This is effectively twice as fast as our previous years. So, everybody agrees this "new toy" was worth the money!
Here are some posts about our finish/hand pruning in years past - I didn't realize I had so many! We've come a long way baby!