Tractor vs. Compact Articulating Loader

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FutureFarm

Junior
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I'm still in the process of planning a 500 case winery/vineyard in Central Illinois. One of the factors that seems to influence a lot of decisions when starting from a blank slate is tractor selection. Basically the way I see it in the vineyard you need horsepower for mowing row middles, pulling/powering sprayer, digging post holes and, replacing vines. I also expect to need a stable platform for applying/removing bird netting and moving harvested grapes to the winery, as well as having a vehicle for scouting the vineyard. On the winery side I expect to need some way of accepting pallets of empty bottles, stacking flex tanks, and possibly loading partial/full pallets. I'd like to have as few power plants as possible.
The winery's loader work is more than the tractor I had been looking at (Kubota B3350 w/ cab) can handle. While idly surfing the web yesterday I came across a youtube video of compact articulating loaders from a company called Avant. It seems like they're a European company with some US based distributors. Their product is a wheel loader with a tipping load of over 2500 lbs. The Kubota's loader is rated for 1100 lbs. Avant sells flail mowers, lawn mowers, pallet forks and can be equipped with an air-conditioned cab and towing hitch. I found A1 mist sprayers sells a skid mounted unit (Ranger) that can be equipped with a vineyard volute that might be acceptable.
Does anyone here have any experience with Avant or their competitor Multione? It also looks like in Spring 2020 Bobcat is going to introduce their version. It seems relatively similar in size and hp, but they haven't released any specs yet.
 

balatonwine

The Verecund Vigneron
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Note: No, I do not have experience with Avant.

But I do have a hectare of land. Basically a 500+ case vineyard. Not in full production yet, but even I can easily use my 15 hp 4x4 tractor and it works fine. Plenty of attachments for this sized tractor including plow, mower, finger weeders, post hole diggers and sprayer. Also, rather use a trailer, or back end loader on the three point hitch, to bring in the crop, et al.

So, no, large horse power is not necessarily required. It depends on what you want to do and how. And, I for one, separate my vineyard tools from my winery tools. Trying to get jack of all trades tool for two very different issues you may find in the end to be disappointing. For example, I don't need to move pallets, but if I did, it would be mostly in the winery, I would get an electrical pallet mover. I would not want a diesel engine that near my wine making tools or casks on a regular basis. But that is just me.

Side note: I just hired a local contractor to plant the vineyard -- he had a mini-excavator with a post hole digger. When vines die and need to be replaced it is easier, and more cost effective for me, to just use a hand auger to drill a new planting hole.

For example, installing the vineyard (wait for it -- when the rock finally pops out):



Replacing a vine (takes only 5 minutes to do by hand):

 
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