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Title: Evaluation of the Use of a Disc-Saw Machine in Winter Pruning 'Rocha' Pear Orchards - an Account of Five Years
Authors: Dias, Antonio B.
Patrocinio, Sandra
Pereira, Sergio
Brites, Teresa
Pita, Valério
Mota Barroso, João
Editors: Deckers, T
Vercammen, J.
Keywords: pruning
work rates
pear production
Issue Date: Sep-2015
Publisher: International Society for Horticultural Science
Citation: Dias, A.B.; Patrocinio, S.; Pereira, S., Brites, T., Pita, V., Mota Barroso, J.(2015) - Evaluation of the Use of a Disc-Saw Machine in Winter Pruning 'Rocha' Pear Orchards - an Account of Five Years. Acta Horticulturae, nº 1094, Proceedings of the Twelfth International Pear Symposium, ed. T. Deckers and J. Vercammen, ISHS: 281-288.
Abstract: Manual pruning with pneumatic shears is a current practice used by pear ‘Rocha’ farmers in Portugal. However, is labour-intensive and therefore expensive. Work started in 2008 to study a mechanised alternative based on a discs-saw pruning machine mounted on a front loader of an agricultural tractor. The following three treatments were compared: T1 - manual pruning performed annually using pneumatic shears. T2 - mechanical pruning, performed annually, topping the canopy parallel to the ground; in 2008 and 2010 topping was followed by mechanical hedging of both sides of the canopy; in 2011 mechanical topping was complemented with manual pruning. T3 - mechanical pruning, performed annually, topping the canopy parallel to the ground followed by a manual pruning complement; in 2008, prior to the manual complement, trees were hedged on both sides of the canopy. A randomised complete block design was used, with three replications, leading to 9 plots with three lines of 10 trees per plot. In each plot only the central line was used in the evaluation. Trials were performed in a 20 years old commercial orchard, planted in an array of 4mx2m with trees trained as central leader system. The following data was collected: tree height and canopy width, before and after pruning interventions; weight of biomass removed; Fruit yield and working rates. Results show that yield in treatment 2 was always lower than in treatment 1; yield in treatment 3, except once, was always lower than in treatment 1. Mechanical pruning leads to a more uniform orchard when compared to manual pruning. Although not beneficial in terms of yield, the use of the tractor mounted cutting bar prior to manual pruning interventions result in a reduction of time required by this expensive operation. However, further field work at a real scale is needed to validate the economic value of the strategy of performing mechanical pruning, based on a discs-saw pruning machine, followed by a manual complement.
ISBN: 978 94 6261 092 7, Acta Horticulturae nº 1094
Type: article
Appears in Collections:ERU - Artigos em Livros de Actas/Proceedings

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