Smart and eco-friendly vineyard inter-row with AGILE

July 9, 2024

Modern agricultural approaches and recent European legislation require that field tillage be innovative but above all environmentally friendly, extending these important principles to specialised equipment. In this context, the challenges imposed by global warming require the adoption of more sustainable and biodiversity-friendly practices, which must be reflected in the conscious use of state-of-the-art agricultural machinery. Alpego S.p.a., with its long years of experience in the industry, presents the AGILE vineyard inter-row, an advanced solution that combines precision and sustainability to improve grape quality and optimise vineyard management.

The challenges of contemporary viticulture

Contemporary viticulture faces many challenges, which are increasingly complex and require an innovative and sustainable approach. Among the main difficulties is climate change, which is severely altering both rainfall and temperatures, compromising the quality and quantity of the harvest. In addition, the increase of vineyard diseases and parasite problems require integrated management solutions and the adoption of environmentally sustainable practices, especially given the growing focus on reducing the use of pesticides and chemical fertilisers.

Inter-row weeding, which is becoming more and more crucial for weed control, can be carried out in two distinct ways. On the one hand, there are the supporters of chemical weeding, who appreciate the speed of operations, the long duration of the intervention and the ease of execution, while at the same time recognising the use of potentially harmful and environmentally polluting substances that must be managed carefully. On the other hand, there are those who prioritise the eco-friendly, by turning back to mechanical methods and eliminating the use of harmful chemicals. However, this approach often requires longer intervention times, increased use of equipment and, above all, labour.

Promoting an action that is respectful of the environment but at the same time profitable for farmers, as a leading company always focused on the needs of the market Alpego has used its many years of experience in the field to create a range dedicated to specialised equipment: this is the Focus Line, which offers essential solutions to effectively meet these challenges and guarantee high quality production. Nevertheless, our machines guarantee a long working life and reliability, especially under the most difficult working conditions.

AGILE vineyard inter-row: precision and innovation

Within the range, the AGILE inter-row stands out for its exceptional combination of precision, versatility and technological innovation. Available in two sizes M or L (2.2 to 3.2 m), it allows fully mechanical weeding by working both sides of the row in a single pass. Its innovative and original components also earned it a Technical Commendation in the EIMA 2021 Technical Innovation Competition.

Inter-row tillage in fact constitutes all those tillages that manage the soil underneath the row, control weeds and perform a totally mechanical, hence ecological, weeding. In addition, they allow many functions and benefits: they break up the surface crust, they can bury fertilisers and green manures, they increase the presence of organic matter and boost vegetative activity.

The machine consists of a high-tensile steel main frame, equipped with rear wheels that perform the up and down operations. The frame supports a pair of electro-hydraulic cylinders, to which the two main tillage bodies are attached. Key features of the machine are the two Biorotor milling elements, rotating on a horizontal axis with compact dimensions of 25 cm and modular for customisation in width. The two elements work superficially at an average of 5 cm, cutting and mixing grass into the soil. When the machine passes, the soil is soft, porous and fresh, with significantly longer weed regrowth intervals.

Electronics at the service of precise tillage

Electronics, automation and new technologies are fundamental to modern agriculture, especially in vineyard management. These innovations increase efficiency and productivity and, thanks to constant monitoring, make it possible to correct tillage in real time, improving grape quality. Pursuing these objectives, AGILE has been integrated with the best technical innovations: all machine functions are managed directly from the tractor’s touch screen monitor, while manual operations are facilitated thanks to a multifunctional joystick. Another strategic aspect is the self-alignment function with respect to the driving course: after setting the row width on the computer, the machine will maintain the height and line of the row whatever the position of the tractor.

In addition, AGILE can also operate on uneven or difficult terrain, with high speeds of up to 7 km/h. The Inter-row is ideal to be combined with tractors from 50 to 120 HP with economy pto., thus working at low power with significant fuel savings. In conclusion, this machine produced by Alpego offers an innovative solution that responds to the modern demands of viticulture, promoting sustainability at the same time as production efficiency.

The importance of the vineyard inter-row in row management

Alpego’s AGILE vineyard inter-row not only addresses the immediate challenges of contemporary viticulture, but also represents a long-term investment in sustainability and vineyard quality. The ability to carry out fully mechanical weeding reduces dependence on chemical herbicides, thus contributing to soil health and the biodiversity of the vine ecosystem. In addition, AGILE’s precision and efficiency enable optimal vineyard management, reducing operating costs and improving grape yields. This advanced technology allows winegrowers to proactively respond to environmental variables and market demands, ensuring sustainable, high quality production.

Inter-row tillage

In particular, here are the top five advantages of using AGILE:

  1. Electronic control from the driver’s seat via COMMAND J handheld device
  2. Enables totally ecological weeding, even in the tightest plantations
  3. Reduced machine weight with low consumption
  4. Half-machine function from on-board computer, working on a single side
  5. Self-alignment function in relation to tractor steering error

In conclusion

The AGILE inter-row is more than just an agricultural machine; it is an indispensable ally in meeting the challenges of modern viticulture. With its combination of precision, versatility and sustainability, AGILE helps winegrowers to manage their vineyards more efficiently and productively. With solutions like this, it is possible to reconcile production needs with environmental protection, ensuring a more sustainable future for the entire industry.

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July 9, 2024