Wednesday, April 18, 2007


I’ve just finished the first ploughing of 2007. As the first photo below shows I leave a grassy strip between each row and only turn the soil directly under the vines. Leaving grass is uncommon in Burgundy, but I tried this in one vineyard last year and liked the results. This year all my vines are ploughed this way.
The second photo shows the plough in action. The two discs define the edge of the grassy band (not yet very grassy in this vineyard!) while two blades slice through the soil cutting weed roots at a depth of about 5cm. Here I’ve raised one of the blades for the sake of the photo. Normally the blade is held solidly in the position shown, but just in front of each blade, and above soil level, is a sensing rod with a large mechanical advantage over the blade. When the sensor is lightly pushed back by a vine the blade follows and so narrowly avoids decapitating the vine. The whole system works surprisingly well and ploughs very close to each vine with a low risk of damage.


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