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PRECISION VITICULTURE IN COONAWARRA


Two exciting new projects funded by the SE NRM Irrigation Innovation grants program will see SPAA work with viticulturalist in the Coonawarra region.

Over the next 18 months, the following projects will be delivered in conjunction with the Coonawarra Grapegrowers Association.

PROJECT 1: Precision Viticulture and New technologies:  decision support tools to assist with irrigation choices

With the aim of building the capacity of vineyard managers, the aim is to develop an understanding of tools available, their application in the field and also their potential as a means of delivering informed management outcomes relating to: irrigation efficiency and accountability. To provide farmers with access to managing their irrigation requirements all in the click on a button wherever they are from their phone and tablets is the ultimate aim of the project.

 This will be addressed by 2 workshops/ meetings (which include practical demonstrations) offering assistance in integrating these tools and agronomic principles into the overall management plan.

 It will work with a group of vineyard managers and farmers who together with an expert in that field and a local PV user will meet twice to discuss a how smart devices can be used to manage irrigation, both within the vineyard and remotely through cloud management.  The workshops  aim to provide a forum for discussion and thereby:

-Increase awareness in irrigation management

-Increase the likelihood that growers will trial and ultimately adopt PV tools,

-Improve accountability and management of problems related to poor irrigation and scheduling

 By making growers and managers aware of PV tools and the inherent benefits of using these technologies, long-term farm and business sustainability can be better guaranteed. This as a result of: reduced variability improved risk management, greater accountability and maximized returns from input investment.

PROJECT 2:  Vineyard scanning to identify vine water stress; 

We envisage conducting a trial whereby measuring a Visual Senescence Score post harvest. The results will be presented at a field day at flowering with a demonstration collecting the said data. The field day will provide an avenue for vine managers to learn how to interpret the results and explain yield variation (across sites) and at different stages of development.

 Quantifying the impact of drought on yield (pre-/ post-anthesis water use) is important as it helps to optimise inputs to the expected yield and optimize water use. This information can also be used to fine tune N application.

 The trial will look at the use of NDVI during senescence (leaf fall), to locate "high potential" vines (which have maintained green, functional leaves). This could reflect localised pockets of deep soil (Coonawarra  is renowned for this). This may be a novel way of picking up vines which could have irrigation input reduced, to ensure optimum quality. 

 The field day will be hosted at the trial site visited by the Coonawarra Grapegrowers Association and other regional wine groups to showcase the data collected (NDVI scans). The field day will include equipment displays and demonstrations, discussion on interpretation of results and assistance in integrating these tools and agronomic principles into the overall management plan with an expert in that field. The field day aims to provide a forum for discussion. 

Keep you eye out for trial results and workshop details. 

 

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