Opening up the canopy

We’re currently seeing an increased demand for mechanical deleafers as vineyard managers look for more cost effective ways to open up the canopy, increasing sunlight exposure and air circulation. 
 
Unlike other defoliators which use what’s known as an air blast system, the ERO leaf stripper, which Sam uses for his vineyard management contract work, has two rotating rollers and a fan which effectively plucks leaves from the vines. 
 
While air blast systems are limited for use between flowering and berry formation, and then right before harvest, the ERO’s ‘suck and pluck’ can be used at any time from flowering right through to harvest.
 
We’ve found that this gives vineyard managers a bit more freedom and flexibility when it comes to planning leaf stripping into the schedule. Also, by taking away the jets of air, leaves and debris are not blown into the canopy, which avoids any risk of disease
 
On average it costs £350 per acre for a team of labourers to leaf strip one side of the vines by hand. In comparison, the ERO can be configured in a single- or double-sided set up, which is then capable of doing 0.5ha or 1ha per hour respectively. The single-sided option can also rotate so that it is possible to just defoliate the east-facing side of the vines. Just looking at the figures alone it’s not difficult to see why they’re becoming increasingly popular.

If you want to chat through the various options and what would be most suitable for your site, please do just give me a call on 01580 712200.

Tom Wheatley, sales at NP Seymour

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