How To Choose A Row Crop Tractor For Vineyard Use
Vineyards may look picturesque with all those acres of tightly spaced grapevines, but they require more work to maintain over the course of a year than a crew can handle with human labor alone. Specialty tractors allow for faster and more thorough care of vineyards without risking damage to delicate and expensive grapevines. Look for these features in a specialty tractor to get the right equipment for the challenging environment of the commercial vineyard.
Narrow Design for Close Rows
There are modern compact tractors with smaller wheelbases, creating opportunities for using mechanized equipment even in the most tightly packed vineyards. Wide wheelbases are likely to damage perennial row crops like grapes. Compact tractors usually have extra height to compensate for having to squeeze the engine and power take-off system into a smaller package, which isn't usually a problem in the vineyard compared to the orchard. Width is usually far more important than other measurements in the grape cultivation field.
Low Center of Gravity for Slopes
Aside from having a narrow design to fit between the rows of grapes, specialty tractors for vineyards should feature a low center of gravity to help the equipment stay steady on slopes and uneven ground. Most areas suitable for growing grapes for wine production in particular are hilly or even mountainous in terrain. Dealing with this kind of sloped environment doesn't necessarily require a track-based tractor, but it does require heavy-duty tires and a low center of gravity to prevent tipping. Tipped tractors can do serious damage to established vines, so ensure the equipment you buy can handle the steepest grades in the vineyard or commit to hand cultivation for some areas.
Applicable Attachment Options
The most compact or narrow specialty tractor may still be a poor fit for the vineyard if it doesn't have the right attachments. First and foremost, most vineyard cultivation techniques require extensive spraying. Look for large tanks, agitators, and spraying arms that attach to the tractor in mind. Vine trimming attachments and flail mowers are also recommended for any vineyard tractor worth its price tag.
Crop Protection Shielding
A little shielding for the tires and front of the tractor can go a long way in protecting delicate grapevines from damage when they rub up against the equipment. While it's not necessary for wider rows, it's recommended as an optional feature for particularly narrow row layouts. Look for tractors that offer shielding as an optional accessory package so you can always add it later if you decide it's needed.
To get the farming equipment that is right for your needs, contact a supplier today.