With vintage drawing to an end, now is the time to give your grape harvesters a good clean, to ensure they are free of soil and plant material.
In the newest version of the Plant Quarantine Standard for South Australia, which is awaiting Ministerial sign-off prior to release, a description for cleaning used grape harvesters is provided. To effectively clean a harvester:
- Remove any parts of the harvester that may hold and hide vineyard soil and plant material. This includes all harvester belts (discharge, cross feed, transfer, pick up and elevator belts) and covers or guards that have been designed to open or completely detach from the harvester frame. These are terms ‘dismantled parts’.
- Thoroughly clean the harvester and all dismantled parts with a steam cleaner, pressure washer or air hose to ensure all vineyard soil and plant material is completely removed. Clean the inside, outside, top of harvester and cabin. Start at the top so that vineyard soil and plant materials doesn’t wash back over areas that have already been cleaned. Pay particular attention to areas where material can get caught or carried inside the machine, including fans, conveyor belts, baskets (buckets), bow rods/beaters, fish plates, onboard deleafers, destemmers, hoppers and sorting tables.
While this cleaning process is relevant to all harvesters irrespective of where they are located, in some cases, there is a requirement to follow cleaning with a sterilisation step to facilitate movement from the source to the desired destination. Consult your state biosecurity department to confirm biosecurity requirements relevant to your situation.