Back to head scratching about vineyard cultivation

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Back to head scratching about vineyard cultivation

Postby DickB » Tue Oct 23, 2012 5:03 am

I'm still hoping for a tractor solution to the work of maintenance of weed-free soil between grape vines. The "Green machine" option looks too expensive, too weighty, too cumbersome for me to even consider it. Extending front cultivator bars to beyond the tractor's wheels on the side seems too much. Mental, half-baked solution? Coming up...but, let me warn you...it is less than even half-baked. Maybe it is still in the mixing bowl....

Here goes. Why not have the sicklebar mounted on the tractor, as I usually do for summertime, but ... (ready for this?)..take the sicklebar off while leaving the under-tractor mount on the tractor. While my sicklebar is off (not putting it on to try it now...I'm doing fence work), I realize that the sicklebar rotates up/down on a pin. So ... remove the pin, take off the entire cutting assembly. Make/design/install another bar of sorts that fits to the under-tractor mount for the sicklebar. I'd have, I think, a bar of my choosing going out the side of the tractor, well beyond the wheels. But a shorter bar than the 4.5' sicklebar. Maybe only 2.5" or 3' ?? If this bar was, say, a chunk of maybe 3" square tubing or whatever ( ! ) that isn't attached to the pitman bar (PTO to be "off"), then it would go up/down by hydraulics, and be constrained fore/aft by the mount. It would ride up over rocks, etc. as does the sicklebar. On the end of this new "bar" would be a means to attach a cultivator tool...say one of those multi-tined jobbies.

Then...I'd be able to come up to a row in the vineyard, keep the Cub in the open grassed walkway, ease this bar/cultivator under the trellis, lower the unit and ease forward, lift up the bar, back up...repeat as needed; move on to the next opening between vines. Not really for removing entrenched weeds (but would it?), but primarily to keep a weeded area maintained. Whattaya think? Got suggestions?
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Re: Back to head scratching about vineyard cultivation

Postby gitractorman » Tue Oct 23, 2012 6:35 am

I do not think the sickle bar assembley would handle the potential stress of engaging the ground at a point so far away from the mount to the tractor.

The standard cultivators should work fine, you will just need to have the wheels spaced in to the narrowest setting, then only use the far outside cultivator mount. The cultivators are designed to follow just behind, to the outside of the tires (at the narrowest setting) therefore, if you run the tires right down the side of your grapes, the cultivators will dig up and cover those tracks. It should work fine, with no speical fabrication needed. I would run both the front and rear cultivator, just the outside spikes, preferrably on the right side of the tractor, so you can literally watch what you're doing by looking right down the steering wheel at the front tire and front cultivator.
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Re: Back to head scratching about vineyard cultivation

Postby Smokeycub » Tue Oct 23, 2012 6:54 am

If I understand your idea, you want to mount a conventional cultivator tine or tines to your mower/sickle arm with a bit of extention on it. I think that would put a great deal of lateral stress on on the bolster and the mower bar mounting hardware. The bolster and mower bar mechanism are designed to accomodate some lateral stress but not a huge amount like you would have dragging cultivators through the ground if even for a short distance. A thought I had was to mount some sort of small roto-tiller to your short extention bar that you would need for you cultivator idea. You would want to take off the roto-tiller handle and you could rig a mount for the controlls, maybe half of the original handle bar, so that you could reach them while still on the tractor. I think something like that would work well on the weeds and in the dirt as long as you don't go too fast or too deep. Good luck with you project.
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Re: Back to head scratching about vineyard cultivation

Postby Eugene » Tue Oct 23, 2012 8:04 am

Mowing instead of cultivation? Black walnut plantation and other tree seedlings. I use a weed eater to trim grass and weeds close to seedlings and at each fence post in the fence line around the seedlings. Cub with Mott flail mower to mow between rows of seedlings and under the fence. The flail mower extends about a foot to the right of the tractor tires. Mow slow and weave back and forth to trim/mow around and between seedlings.

A Cub Cadet with hydrostatic transmission works better because of it's tighter turning radius for trimming up close to seedlings.

Still have a bit of hand weeding to do during the weed eater process.
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Re: Back to head scratching about vineyard cultivation

Postby clodhopper » Tue Oct 23, 2012 4:18 pm

Couldnt you use a weed barrier and forego cultivation altogether?
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Re: Back to head scratching about vineyard cultivation

Postby Scrivet » Tue Oct 23, 2012 10:18 pm

I keep thinking about something similar to the wiggle hoe that TM has a brochure on.
http://www.tm-tractor.com/gbrochures/wiglehoeing.htm
It would have to be mounted to the right side of the tractor instead of behind obviously. Some type of cultivator scratcher (I'm envisioning a multi pronged weed scratcher from an old hand push plow) attached to an arm on a vertical shaft with a lever at the top beside the seat that when you push swings out under the vines. When you come to the stem(?) pull the lever to swing the scratcher back towards the tractor then after the stem push it back out.

The fancier version would have a hydraulically controlled arm like a 4x4 mounted in the same orientation as the sickle bar that would move straight in and out a foot or so under the vines as a lever is moved right or left.
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Re: Back to head scratching about vineyard cultivation

Postby DickB » Wed Oct 24, 2012 6:19 am

There seems to be a consensus that there will be too much of a lateral force at the tip of any kind of substitute bar coming from the sicklebar mount...if there are tines out there digging into the earth. Too much stress would probably mess up the mount. Getting a tool bar to reach out there would probably have the same issues. Moving the wheels in is something I've not done and would be loath to do it if it messes up settings, takes a great length of time. The idea I was hoping for was one that would allow some "extended side cultivation" for the vineyard as part of a busy summer that has the tractor mostly used for sicklebar work on various hilly, slopes, etc. Resetting wheels, or finding/buying/installing a Green machine are probably well beyond where I want to go.

Thanks for thoughts. I'll be working on them here.

Dick
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Re: Back to head scratching about vineyard cultivation

Postby HWil » Wed Oct 24, 2012 11:12 am

Think about running a length of barstock through both 'tool bar clamps' pages 12 and 13, item #4 in the 144 cultivator manual. It could stick out on one or both sides, as you like, and would give you a strong triangulated base for your under the row tool, with the up and down function built in. You could mount your swing back/slide in tiller or teeth. Run it in and out from under the row with a sideways mounted lift handle. ....or something like that :)
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Re: Back to head scratching about vineyard cultivation

Postby HWil » Wed Oct 24, 2012 11:28 am

clodhopper wrote:Couldnt you use a weed barrier and forego cultivation altogether?


I tried weed barriers (long black woven material, water permeable) in a part of my first vineyard. I always ended up chewing a chunk out of it or wrapping it around the mower. Had it stapled down too. Maybe I wasn't doing it right.
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Re: Back to head scratching about vineyard cultivation

Postby gitractorman » Wed Oct 24, 2012 12:54 pm

Dick,
HWil has a good idea. Using the existing tool bars for the cultivators, you can extend the bar out to one side, far enough to get past your wider wheel spacing. Then you can add a spade or tooth (or two) out there to do your cultivating. Nice, simple application, and should have plenty of strength. You may even be able to leave the sickle mower attached, but I'd have to look closely at where the tool bars come back and where the sickle mower sticks up. It would be close, but worth trying out. Worst case, you can just remove the cutter bar (as you were thinking about originally) and leave the mower mount hooked up.

Give it a try and let us know how you make out. Everyone loves pictures too.
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Re: Back to head scratching about vineyard cultivation

Postby HWil » Wed Oct 24, 2012 4:04 pm

That extended tool bar idea came from Boss Hog the other day during one of our conversations. Howard
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Re: Back to head scratching about vineyard cultivation

Postby AL Farmall Boy » Wed Oct 24, 2012 4:25 pm

I have been talking with a guy up north that bought out several Dealerships in the 80's. He told me he is wanting to sell out all of his parts and implements, and that he has what he calls a "Vineyard Cultivator" for a Farmall Super A - 140 tractor (I think it was....or maybe a Cub). Very Intresting Nonetheless as I haven't ever heard of one.
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Re: Back to head scratching about vineyard cultivation

Postby Buzzard Wing » Wed Oct 24, 2012 5:41 pm

There are a lot of vineyards around here these days. I even tried 'will mow for wine' with one place, but they were going to bale the trimmings first. Never heard anything like that before :roll: ?? At any rate, they all seem to have turf between the rows and do not seem too critical about what grows between the vines (in the row) in season. That is my 25 MPH observation, which is a passing glance.

Westport River Winery in Westport Mass is owned by the Russell family and they are great folks (best bubbly white in the USA). They also own the Buzzard's Bay brewery (www.justbeer.us). Possibly you could talk to Rob there and get the lowdown on how he cultivates (or doesn't) and why. He has a Cub, but I believe it is used to cultivate something other than vines.
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Re: Back to head scratching about vineyard cultivation

Postby HWil » Wed Oct 24, 2012 10:11 pm

Might be a couple of reasons to bale the trimmings in the vineyard. Probably #1 is to get them out of the vineyard instead of mowing them, because they harbor the fungal spores that are the bane of humid region grapevines. It'll mean less spraying next year. Another may be to collect sample batches of the cuttings to weigh them which gives you an idea from year to year how the vines are doing and how many buds to leave on for the following year so you don't tax the plant.
You can use the grass in the middles to compete with the vines if they are too vigorous, and cultivate it out if it competes too much. h
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Re: Back to head scratching about vineyard cultivation

Postby DickB » Thu Oct 25, 2012 4:59 am

HWil wrote:
clodhopper wrote:Couldnt you use a weed barrier and forego cultivation altogether?


I tried weed barriers (long black woven material, water permeable) in a part of my first vineyard. I always ended up chewing a chunk out of it or wrapping it around the mower. Had it stapled down too. Maybe I wasn't doing it right.


This seems to be on track. Thanks. Not sure, but I don't think I have that tool bar. Will have to check through what I have. But a tool bar that would go from L to R and extend out beyond the R front wheel and allow attachment of various cultivating tools would be the ticket. Now...There's a plan!

So, if I don't have such a tool bar, then is a long one something that was made? Available? Or do I go to a steel shop and ask them?
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