Image: Matt Beaver Photography

From drip irrigation to LoRaWAN – Riverina ups the ante on R&D extension

RD&E News | February 2019
Image: Matt Beaver Photography
08 Feb 2019
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The Griffith Research Station has been a hive of activity in recent months as the NSW Riverina Regional Program hosts a range of initiatives to assist the region’s grapegrowers.

Irrigation

Late last year, Jeremy Giddings from Agriculture Victoria (Regional Manager Irrigation) hosted a drip irrigation management workshop at the Griffith Research Station. Topics included drip irrigation system maintenance and how to check drip system pressure and flow rate against system specifications.

Image: Matt Beaver Photography

As a case study, the workshop included evaluating the irrigation system at the Griffith research station. If an irrigation system applies water unevenly, over-watering and under-watering within the block will reduce operating efficiency.

Demonstrations included:

  • measuring drip operating pressure and emitter discharge
  • calculating pressure and discharge variation
  • flushing and determining lateral flushing velocity, and
  • chlorine and acid injection rate calculations.

Growers received three Department of Primary Industries (DPI) Ag Guide water series publications, including Irrigation measuring and monitoring, Irrigation system and pump selection; and Irrigation scheduling.

These publications are available as digital publications at the Tocal College bookshop.

LoRaWAN

Long range wide area network (LoRaWAN) is a media access control protocol designed to allow low-powered devices to communicate with internet-connected applications over long range wireless connections.

The DPI has a number of projects using LoRaWAN, taking data onto farms and delivering powerful monitoring and information systems. LoRaWAN can potentially allow farmers to save time and manage their businesses with less risk and potentially greater profit.

Image: supplied
NSW DPI viticultural development officer Adrian Englefield at the Griffith Research Station

A LoRaWAN system has been installed at the Griffith research station comprising a weather station and five sites monitoring soil moisture, canopy temperature, humidity and leaf wetness.

The LoRaWAN system is currently being evaluated for signal strength within proximity of the research station.

According to NSW DPI Viticultural Development Officer Adrian Englefield, the next steps include:

  • live data and demonstration available on the DPI Grapes website
  • further demonstrations of sensor capability with a LoRaWAN system, and
  • software applications and decision support from collected data.

For further information see:

Disease resistant vineyard

Breeding new grapevine cultivars with resistance to powdery mildew and downy mildew has the potential to reduce vineyard costs associated with applying fungicides and direct crop losses or quality downgrade from disease development.

Image: Matt Beaver Photography

Since 2013, NSW DPI’s Dr Bruno Holzapfel has evaluated 20 red and 20 white disease resistant varieties at the National Wine and Grape Industry Centre. The varieties were developed by the CSIRO and were part of 1200 original selections. The final report for this project (CSP 1303) and the evaluation trial final report (CSP 1402) is now available on the Wine Australia website. .

Through the Riverina Regional Program, one hectare of disease resistant white varieties have been planted at the Griffith research station. The planting will enable further demonstration of five varieties including different rootstocks, irrigation schedules and other viticulture practices common in the Riverina.

Further information on all NSW Regional Program activities is available at www.dpi.nsw.gov.au/agriculture/horticulture/grapes.


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