Wine Australia has welcomed funding for projects on digital viticulture and on reducing the impact of controlled burns and wildfires under round two of the Rural R&D for Profit program.
The first project will investigate digital technologies to assist growers in three key areas where early detection and management can make a significant difference. It is a four-year collaboration between Wine Australia, Cotton Research Development Corporation and Horticulture Innovation Australia.
Wine Australia Chief Executive Officer Andreas Clark said, ‘Yield loss through disease or weather events and inaccurate grape forecasting affects our sector each year, and advanced technologies are potentially a tool for our grapegrowers to help planning for these risks.
‘Through the development of processes and linking to better early detection systems, we hope that this project will help our grapegrowers to make holistic decisions earlier and reduce losses associated with disease, stress and yields.’
The project has attracted a $3 million investment through the Rural R&D for Profit program and will be matched by more than $10.5 million cash and in-kind contributions by Wine Australia and partner organisations.
Reducing the impact of controlled burns and wildfires
The second project aims to reduce the impact of controlled burns and wildfires near wine regions by examining practices and advanced technologies.
Depending on the stage of the fruit’s development, smoke from controlled burns and wildfires can affect winegrapes so that they develop tastes such as smoked meat, disinfectant, leather or char. It is an issue that affects many wine regions across the world.
‘It’s vital that we’re able to provide the Australian grape and wine community with innovative and cost-effective tools to minimise the unintended impacts of controlled burns and wildfires’, Mr Clark said.
‘By investing in this research, we will help the Australian grape and wine community’s competitiveness by reducing the risk, ensuring the certainty of supply and improving profitability in our sector.
‘This project will also help public land management agencies to implement effective planned burn programs that have a significantly lower chance of unintended negative impacts on winegrapes.’
The project has attracted a $1.5 million investment through the Rural R&D for Profit program and is a $3 million total investment.
Digital technologies for dynamic management of disease, stress and yield is a collaborative project between 15 organisations and includes research partners at the CSIRO, University of Queensland, University of Tasmania, The Fraunhofer Institute (Germany), University of South Australia and the Australian Wine Research Institute. The project will be undertaken across multiple Australian wine regions.
Mitigation of Climate Change Impacts on the National Wine Industry by Reduction in Losses from Controlled Burns and Wildfires and Improvement in Public Land Management is a collaborative project between Wine Australia and its partners the Australian Wine Research Institute, Agriculture Victoria and LaTrobe University.