Sus­tain­able vine train­ing

North East & Goulburn Murray Farmer - - END OF FINANCIAL YEAR - MACHINERY BUYERS GUIDE -

GRAPE grow­ers in Aus­tralia be­gan train­ing their vines along rope, at­tached to bush tim­ber posts.

Gen­er­a­tions later they moved onto treated CCA tim­ber and some now use steel.

More re­cently an Aus­tralian com­pany has patented a new look, util­is­ing un­treated tim­ber cov­ered with re­cy­cled poly­mer.

Not only does the com­pany prom­ise a stronger more flex­i­ble post, they have also been is­sued Aus-Or­ganic cer­ti­fi­ca­tion.

Wood­shield sales man­ager Ash­ley David­son said the post’s in­ner core is tim­ber, while the outer layer is re­cy­cled poly­mer, up to 6mm thick.

The poly­mer pro­vides a pro­tec­tive layer for the tim­ber, com­pletely en­cas­ing it, and re­mov­ing the need for the tim­ber to be treated chem­i­cally.

The poly­mer pro­tec­tion also pro­vides the tim­ber with more flex­i­bil­ity, longevity and strength.

David­son says the idea came from a group of pas­sion­ate wine drinkers, who just hap­pened to be in­volved in the plas­tics in­dus­try.

They wanted to solve the on­go­ing prob­lem of bro­ken treat trel­lis posts and the sus­tain­able poly­mer coated tim­ber post was born.

“We can go right from tak­ing a drip­per tube/ir­ri­ga­tion off a vine­yard, re­cy­cle it and put it back out on a post.

“Then in 50-plus years, the tested life span of the poly­mer, you can strip it, chop it up and re­cy­cle the plas­tic again.

“The wood can be mulched, chipped or turned into fire­wood, be­cause it is non-treated, no chem­i­cals to worry about.”

“Each end has a cap and the re­cy­cled poly­mer is ex­truded over both the cap and the tim­ber post com­pletely sealing it, en­sur­ing the posts don’t ab­sorb mois­ture that could cause rot­ting.”

He said the caps pro­vide strength to the end of the post, mean­ing they can still be hy­drauli­cally forced into the ground – with­out fear of dam­age.

Sold in a va­ri­ety of lengths, from 1.5 me­tres up to 4.8 me­tres, and four dif­fer­ent pro­files, the posts are ad­ver­tised as be­ing 40 to 50 per cent stronger than the bare tim­ber al­ter­na­tive.

It is the plas­tic ex­tru­sion that pro­vides that strength.

“Any pres­sure that comes on is dis­trib­uted up and down the fi­bres in­side.

“Whereas if you have a stan­dard treated CCA post, with say a knot in it, when pres­sure is ex­erted down the post and reaches the knot, it will snap or crack.

“The poly­mer outer layer al­lows the pres­sure to move up and down the fi­bres, with­out caus­ing dam­age.”

David­son said no spe­cialised equip­ment is re­quired when in­stalling the posts or wires, and de­spite hav­ing to punc­ture the plas­tic outer cov­er­ing for clips and fas­ten­ers, there isn’t an is­sue with mois­ture get­ting into the in­ner tim­ber.

“The plas­tic just closes around any break caused by nail­ing through it, that’s the na­ture of the beast.

“You can ham­mer it, nail or screw it.

“It’s what peo­ple know, in terms of a tim­ber post, it’s just more sus­tain­able.”

The patented sys­tem is be­ing used by the wine in­dus­try, the oys­ter in­dus­try, the equine in­dus­try and the com­pany is ex­port­ing posts to New Zealand, Ja­pan, USA and Europe.

NEW ERA: Aus­tralian com­pany Wood­shield has patented a new un­treated tim­ber cov­ered with re­cy­cled poly­mer for vine grow­ers.

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