The Vineyard: New Use of a Cub?

Sun Oct 14, 2012 1:42 pm

Here's something that's been bothering me, and upsetting my Cub: my vineyard. Small, just maybe 80 vines, but it takes hard rototiller work. The 6 rows are spaced so the Cub can drive down them,'s the issue: clearing weeds out between the vines which are about 6' apart and in a line. There's wood posts about every 3 vines, and horizontal wires at about 4' and 6' that run the entire length of each row. What I'd like to do, instead of getting exhausted wrestling with a Husqvarna rototiller in taking out the weeds is to consider some way to sit pretty on my tractor and back-forth get the job done while whistling and humming. But I cannot get the tractor in on the line (poles, wires)--gotta be offset. So I'm wondering about something like a cultivator tine set out some distance from the RH side of the Cub, probably off the horizontal arm (Tool Arm) for tines that's behind the RF wheel. Hydraulics up/down, and Cub forward/reverse and move on up to next space between vines would seem about right.

What's been done for something like this? What ideas are there for how to go about it? Something HUGE to bolt to the Tool Arm to take the bending and such? A couple of passes at, say, 3" deep would do the job... :?: I've got attachments that are Tines, Shovel Nose jobbies, Sweep jobbies. I like the Tines because they're gentle and if I get into roots that belong to vines, I want to be able to back out without much damage.

Re: The Vineyard: New Use of a Cub?

Sun Oct 14, 2012 2:08 pm

Weed killer is used under the row on many vineyards. The non-chemical method is typically to use a grape hoe. I don't seem to have a picture of mine. It is manual control and was probably intended for a Farmall A although I have had it on a Cub. Back in the day, the green was considered one of the best. It was controlled with 2 hydraulic valves/cylinders. More modern ones have available a sensor to automatically control side movement. You can see different types by doing a google image search for "grape hoe" Many old-timers refered to this job as "horse-hoeing" as there were horse drawn machines. Some clean-up with a hand hoe is required.

Here is a pointer to Green's web page.

Re: The Vineyard: New Use of a Cub?

Sun Oct 14, 2012 4:21 pm

There is a long toolbar (don't know the number) that attaches to the front toolbar mounts. Check the cultivator manuals atop this page.

edit: Looks like the 252 toolbars will get oyu out a bit past your wheels.

Re: The Vineyard: New Use of a Cub?

Mon Oct 15, 2012 5:48 am

Thanks. The Green jobbie is way too much for me, although it does look like it is practically "made to order." No doubt expensive too.

The extended length tool bar seems like it might do the job although I'd have to come by one or see if a steel shop sells the correctly sized bar at the right length. And it seems like the tool bar needs to span L and R underneath the Cub belly to resist being twisted.

Re: The Vineyard: New Use of a Cub?

Mon Oct 15, 2012 9:26 am

Yeah, the practical limit on what you can spend to do 500 feet of grape row is pretty low. Seeing what kind of working tools and blades they use may give you some useful ideas. Something like their rotary cultivators may work. Most of the rotary units seem to use hydraulic motors to turn them. Something free turning can be made to rotate by tilting one side deeper than the other. It may not work as well, but is much less expensive than any power driven system.

You can try to make something in a fixed position and use the tractor to steer around vines. I think you will find that pretty marginal (it has been tried), but may still be better than what you have today.

This probably isn't clear from what has been said. The conventional way to use a blade type grape hoe is to use it to pull dirt/weeds out from under the row. This leaves a ridge where the dirt falls past the inner end of the blade. A disk harrow is used to break up the ridge and till the soil between the rows. Later on, the grape hoe is set up with a hilling blade and it is used to throw a hill up under the row and cover weeds that have grown in the meanwhile. The hill provides the new supply of dirt for the next hoeing. In northern climates this is a once a year cycle. I suppose they may do it multiple times in some climates. Tillage is stopped each year as the grapes approach full size and are ready to start maturing. Later season weed control is handled by mowing.

Re: The Vineyard: New Use of a Cub?

Mon Oct 15, 2012 3:38 pm

Jim, sounds like you've been around some vineyards. Thanks for the overview. My little vineyard, mostly 3 years old, has settled in with the trunks starting to put on some heft. But the weeds remain a constant. Forever otherwise directed, it is pretty easy to forget to hoe or rototill and the next thing I know it is a forest of weeds.

After writing about an extended tool bar as a possiblity, I have spent the day (out in the rain putting in fence posts for sheep paddocks) thinking now and then that it won't work. Too much torque on the bar with the tines digging in, and the tool bar would extend some distance past the RH front wheel. It somehow all sounds like a disaster in the making. Some sort of triangulated steelwork might hold the tines in place, but the hydraulics would be curtailed by all that triangulation -- rigid connections, etc.

Back to the rototiller? Aiii, my aching back! And...look out for that low wire!

Re: The Vineyard: New Use of a Cub?

Fri Oct 19, 2012 6:41 pm

Hi Dick,

I've been playing with the same problem this year. 7 foot rows 1 meter in the the row between vines. I mow with the cub and the 42 " Woods mower and can get to about 2" from the vines on each side. In parts of the vineyard crabgrass is taking over and hanging up on the Clemmons hoe that I run on the Farmall 75N. When this happens it will wipe out 2 or 3 vines before I can get it stopped. So I have been looking at ways to cultivate with the cub first then make a pass with the Clemmons that has the touch sensors and cuts under the wires. I purchased an 11 hp pull behind rototiller, took off half of the tines, leaving about 18" on the vine side, towed it behind the cub at low speed low throttle, just idling along. It turned the soil well but broke the shear pins after about a thousand feet. I'm now thinking one of those Howard Rotovators may be made to do the job. Could probably figure out how to cob it up to swing it under the row (for your vineyard) with little effort. Just gotta find one first ;-). Before I purchased the Clemmons the weeds were getting ahead of us this year with the regular rains in MD, I would use the weed eaters to keep the weeds away from the vines. With 80 vines that would be a quick and dirty method. I'm trying to stay away from the chemical solution if I can. Tried to find some Rely this year, but no luck. It just burns down what it touches and is not systemic. I think the extended bar would be ok strength wise for what you are thinking about. Was talking with Boss Hog about this the other day and came up with a new cub attachment.....long narrow chicken tractors that we could hitch up to the cub every couple of days and pull down the vine row letting the chickens take care of the cultivating. Of course the chicken tractor would have to be painted red :-) Howard

Re: The Vineyard: New Use of a Cub?

Fri Oct 19, 2012 8:25 pm

I don't know a whole lot about vineyards, but driving by it seems like the lower branches are always pruned off, so that it's one single line of "stems" (vines and posts) like one single line of vegetable crops. What you're saying about the extension off the front cultivator, so that the sweeps are outside the wheeltracks, seems like the most intuitive idea to me. A mirror image of the front cultivator setup, I suppose. I don't think you want to back up and go forward for each vine to really get the "in-row" weeds that are in the same line as the vines/posts --> just like a vegetable farmer, I think go up one side and down the other, cultivating as close to the plants as you dare. That would do the bulk of the work, and you'd be left with a narrow strip down the middle (where the vines/posts are) to do by hand or with some other hilling sort of tool. Depends at what stage you're weeding though -- late in the game with weeds well established, a tiller may be the only to get them early+often, of course.

Re: The Vineyard: New Use of a Cub?

Fri Oct 19, 2012 8:56 pm

Roundup. Just don't spray it on the vine trunks and be careful on windy days so it doesn't drift to the next row. Stay a few inches away from the trunks.
I also use a cardboard tube about 3 ft. tall with a slit in it lengthwise so you can slip it around the trunk for extra protection.
I do this with my pecan and peach trees about once a growing season.
I'd be leery of having cultivating tools extended past the wheelbase of your Cub, this adds quite a bit of torque on the mounting scheme and I'd be afraid of cracking the housing.

Re: The Vineyard: New Use of a Cub?

Sun Oct 21, 2012 9:25 am

Might want to take a look at HY Yield Grass Killer. It is designed for flower and vegatable gardens. I will kill grass only, except corn, okra, and egg plant. It is grass specific. I spray it on the grass only and not the plants, but some will get on them. It has not hurt the plants. It should work in your vinyard.

Re: The Vineyard: New Use of a Cub?

Sun Oct 21, 2012 9:47 am

Billy Fussell wrote:Might want to take a look at HY Yield Grass Killer.

This (or something similar) may be a viable approach. However, keep in mind that grapes are VERY sensitive to many weed killers. Don't use anything that does not specifically list the product as safe for use on grapes.

Re: The Vineyard: New Use of a Cub?

Sun Oct 21, 2012 10:00 am

I did not look at the label to see if it was safe to use around grapes. I figured one would check before using it on his crops. I use it all the time and it works for veggies.

Re: The Vineyard: New Use of a Cub?

Sun Oct 21, 2012 10:23 am

I tried to find the use instructions for that product online. I found the label, which didn't answer the question. It says ""kills weedy grasses without damaging desirable plants." It has a footnote "See crop table list". I couldn't find the crop table list online. You need to chck the list.

This is just good practice with any herbicide. I wanted to make a point of it because grapes are exceptionally sensitive to herbicides.

Re: The Vineyard: New Use of a Cub?

Sun Oct 21, 2012 11:23 am

After writing about an extended tool bar as a possiblity, I have spent the day (out in the rain putting in fence posts for sheep paddocks)

I don't know much about sheep other than they eat grass and the cattle men didn't want them around in the old western movies, don't know if they like grapes or not, but they are used to "mow" the grass in other areas, why not in a vineyard ???? But, then, like I said, I don't know much about sheep. Baaaa

Re: The Vineyard: New Use of a Cub?

Sun Oct 21, 2012 6:26 pm

This is from Iowa State University extension website:
"Roundup (glyphosate) or one of the many generic forms is probably the most used herbicide used in
our Iowa vineyards"
and here, and here.
This publication is from Virginia Tech extension
I've never grown grapes, but it looks like Roundup is commonly used and recommended. Google "roundup grapes" and you'll find numerous accredited organizations using and recommending it's use in vineyards.