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May 30, 2022 View:

Pruning robots could reduce vineyard workers' workload

While weeding and harvesting are now mechanized, pruning is still done manually, especially in winter, when the workers have to endure the cold. Sometimes, the winery even faces a shortage of manpower.

Image from: Wine a search

However, with the development of technology, this work in the future is also likely to be generally mechanized operation. Recently, at an agricultural fair called Agrovina in Switzerland, a pruning robot won the conference"s innovation award.

The robot was launched by a French company called Wall-Ye, a company whose main business is the development of agricultural robots and software.

The pruning robot is powered by lithium batteries and is equipped with solar panels that can charge the batteries. This invention, which has the potential to be widely used in the future, will solve a number of problems, such as the shortage or uneven professionalism of pruning workers, the high cost of labor, and the difficulty of pruning in winter. In addition, as vineyards around the world continue to expand, the robot's high efficiency will ensure that large areas of vineyards are pruned in a timely manner. The robot is said to be able to work at a speed of up to 150 plants per hour, compared to the most skilled pruners' speed of just over 60 plants per hour. At present, the robot still needs to undergo a series of tests, mainly for its ability to identify different pruning methods.

Image from: Wine a search

Another company, Pellenc, has also developed a machine that requires manual operation for the Cordon pruning method. This machine is equipped with infrared LED sensors, so it can achieve a small error precision pruning (Taille Rase de Precision), pruning speed of 10 hours per hectare, compared to 35 to 50 hours per hectare of manual pruning improved a lot.

Machines are machines, and occasionally they will miss a branch, so people will need to check them again after they are done cutting. But even so, if the pruning robot is widely used, it will still reduce the workload of people a lot. I hope this invention will become more mature and help grape farmers to grow better grapes and bring us more and better wines.