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Evaluation of new technology and new scion-rootstock combinations for improved water use efficiency and reduced costs


Summary

Objective

To provide the Australian grape and wine community with benefit: cost data on different management treatments for new varieties that do not require sprays for downy and powdery mildew.

Some of the new varieties evaluated have a canopy structure that does not require pruning and the cost savings and performance of these vines will be determined. 

Background

This research project builds on the previous project CSP1305 Climate change ready varieties and management technologies that reduce GHGs in the vineyard, which established a unique trial site to assess the cost savings that could be achieved through the use of new varieties (no spray and no prune) and different vineyard layouts and management approaches. The vineyard establishment phase was recently completed and this new project will utilise the trial site to determine the cost savings and benefits over four years as the vines reach maturity and optimum yield production.

Evaluation of the mature vines will also allow assessment of the impact of the different treatments on fruit and wine quality. The new varieties and rootstocks were selected based on their potential to perform under a warming climate and in reducing major costs to the grape and wine community, in particular spraying for mildews and pruning. 

The project will also evaluate different irrigation treatments and the use of a new digital technology (ArduCrop) to measure the canopy temperature to determine when the vines require water. 

Research approach

Irrigation treatments will be established on the trial site with soil moisture sensors and the ArduCrop sensor network. The management costs including water use will be collected from the different experimental treatments and yield and berry quality parameters will be measured.

The research in the following three years will progress the improvements to the ArduCrop sensor network to collect more data and incorporate testing of a dry reference to improve precision. Wine will be made from grapes from the different treatments for chemical composition comparisons and grape quality parameters will also be measured.

The LiDAR sensor technology being developed in the Wine Australia-funded project CSP 1307 will be used to measure canopy structure and vine vigour. Data collected will be analysed and differences between treatments identified. Data from soil moisture sensors and ArduCrop sensors will be compared and a crop water use index will be calculated.

Sector benefits

This project will evaluate new scion and rootstock material and new management methods and tools to investigate potential cost savings resulting from reductions in inputs (sprays, labour, water and pruning) and whether such reductions can be achieved without affecting yield and wine quality.