Orchard & Vineyard – Farmgard

Millton’s mulcher of choice

James Millton is a big fan of the Berti range of mulchers from Farmgard. As the owner of Millton Vineyards and Winery, New Zealand’s first certified organic vineyard, he recently purchased his second Italian-built Berti.

According to Millton, his first Berti mulcher ran ‘flawlessly’ for over 15 years on his 30-hectare Gisborne vineyard.

“We’ve only had to change the blades once and it has been easy to service in terms of greasing nipples and access to the belts,” he says.

Millton uses his Berti machines in late spring and summer for mulching vineyard prunings and says one of the biggest advantages is that it can be used while simultaneously carrying out mechanical weeding.

“As an organic operation, we try to run everything as efficiently as possible. We don’t want to substitute petrochemical costs for the massive savings we make by not applying agricultural chemicals so to be able to do two or three operations in one pass is a big plus,” he comments.

Millton has upgraded to the TFB/Y 1.4m Berti mulcher: a 100hp heavy-duty low-body mulcher which is the range’s most popular for orchard and vineyard applications.

It can handle pruning up to 8cm and comes standard with mechanical side shift ‘A’ hammers flails,194mm rear roller, and 540rpm gearbox with free wheel.

Millton bought the new machine due to the changing layout of the vineyard, not because his three metre wide Berti machine was wearing out, he says.

“The old machine is still running well, however to make more effective use of our land we have progressively changed from three metre to two metre wide lanes between the vine rows so a small mulcher was necessary for the job,” he remarks.

After looking at several brands, Millton decided to stick with Berti from Farmgard, not only because he thinks the machines are superior but because he has dealt with Farmgard for years.

“Most of our vineyard equipment, including our cultivators and mowers, come from Farmgard. They provide really good service and Mark Capper has been in the business a long time,” Millton says, adding that he’s looking forward to years of good service from his new Berti workhorse and has his eye on a top-of-the-range model that also gathers up the mulched pruning: “To me, that is the ultimate – a machine that takes the trash out of the vineyard, which can then be composted.”

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