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Field trials : new scion-rootstock combinations and evaluation of new technology for improved water use efficiency and reduced costs


Summary

Objective

This project will provide new knowledge on the performance and wine quality of new scion-rootstock combinations as well as the management and financial benefits of adopting mildew resistant scions, and rootstocks conferring different vine vigour, densities and crop water use efficiency. It will also investigate the potential of a new sensor technology as a decision-making tool for irrigation management and water use efficiency.

Background

Adaptation to climate change and reducing inputs will be key factors in maintaining the competitiveness of the Australian wine sector, in addition to having unique, desirable products. This project will provide the wine sector with cost–benefit data on different management treatments for new varieties. Some of the varieties do not require sprays for downy and powdery mildew and others have a canopy structure that does not require pruning. The performance and cost savings of these grapevines will be determined. The new varieties and rootstocks in the trial were selected based on their potential to perform under a warming climate.

Research approach

Rootstocks that are nematode and phylloxera tolerant will be used in a high-density planting, similar to that in some European vineyards. The potential cost savings of the new vines, water usage, crop water use index and the trade-offs involved in moving to high density plantings to achieve productivity improvements will be evaluated.

Sensors that are direct measures of the grapevine canopy temperature may be superior to soil water sensors in determining the water status of grapevines and their irrigation requirements. This project will evaluate different irrigation treatments and the use of a new digital technology, called ArduCrop. The evaluation of the ArduCrop sensor will provide the sector with information on the method for assessing vine stress and irrigation scheduling.

Sector benefits

Potential cost savings, reduction in inputs, yield per hectare, water use efficiency and fruit and wine quality will allow the sector to make informed decisions management methods and the benefits of the new varieties and rootstocks.

The trial site will be a unique resource for research and a demonstration vineyard for the sector to observe how the vines are managed, the performance of grafted and not grafted vines and their level of resistance to mildews under ‘no-spray’ conditions.