Photo: Ian Routledge / Wine Australia

Water on the agenda for Riverland growers

RD&E News | May 2019
Photo: Ian Routledge / Wine Australia
10 May 2019
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The Riverland Regional Program has moved swiftly on news that the opening water allocation for Riverland winegrowers has been set at 14 per cent, announcing two intensive water workshops later this month.

‘The two one-day workshops will be very hands-on, covering everything from getting into the water leasing market, to being more water efficient and making practical economic decisions for the various varieties in the vineyard’, said Riverland horticultural and business consultant Chris Bennett.

‘These workshops will inform, educate and help growers identify the best water management strategies for them to make some critical decisions moving forward.’

Image: Wine Australia

The workshops – to be held on 22 and 23 May in the Loxton Research Centre – will feature a number of experts in the field, including:

  • advisors from AITHER (specialists in water policy, water markets, infrastructure and natural hazards)
  • a presentation outlining the latest Bureau of Meteorology (BOM) weather data, weather expectations and likely scenarios that could affect grapegrowers, and
  • vine physiology experts, who will discuss the different stages and growth of grape vines; and how growers can save water during each phase.

‘We think the workshops will be very helpful for growers. It will get them thinking about their vineyards grape variety by grape variety; and help them decide the best solution for them in the water puzzle.’

Growers interested in the workshops can contact Riverland Wine.

Automatic Weather Station Network initiative

The Riverland Regional Program is further extending its Automatic Weather Station Network initiative, run in partnership with the Natural Resource Management Board.

The next step of the project will modify existing available data technology, so that the likely outcome of vineyard diseases, temperatures and humidity can be predicted. Under the extended program, it is envisaged that every vineyard in the region will have a weather station in close proximity.

‘By next year, we aim to implement an overall system that collects data from each of those individual weather stations that will then drive predictions in terms of disease risks and vine water usage’, Chris said.

Image: Wine Australia

‘This in turn will give grapegrowers relevant alerts and information specific to their geographical area.

‘Growers will literally receive a message on their telephone alerting them to the potential of a downy mildew risk, for example. Besides giving growers the heads up so they can prepare, it also saves growers chemical usage and time if no alert is issued.’

Precision viticultural field day and forum

The Riverland Regional Program is set to host a precision viticulture field day and forum, in conjunction with SPAA (Society of Precision Agriculture Australia).

The event will showcase the work researchers from the University of Adelaide have undertaken in partnership with Riverland Wine, using robotics to increase vineyard management efficiencies.

For further information, contact Riverland Wine.


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