Automatic Weather Station Expansion and Upgrades on Target for this season

The Riverland Automatic Weather Station Network

As mentioned in previous newsletters, Riverland Wine is collaborating with the NRM Board to expand and upgrade the region’s automatic weather station network.

The CropWatch service that Riverland Wine has provided for many years through Magarey Pathology was reliant on a relatively small network of automatic weather stations. While this worked fairly well, there were a number of significant ‘gaps’ in the network which meant that many vineyards were not close enough to a weather station to receive the most accurate information. Basically, for the best alerts regarding disease potential in your vineyard, you need a weather station close by.

The NRM Board has installed an excellent network across the region and Riverland Wine has entered into a collaborative arrangement to use this existing high-quality network as the basis for a more comprehensive network which is designed to cover the vineyards across the region. Riverland Wine has successfully obtained funding to complete the improvements.

The upgrades include two new sites (Winkie and Loxton), three moved and improved (Bookpurnong, Waikerie and Pyap) and the addition of seven new in-canopy sensors which supply the crucial data regarding vine canopy wetness, humidity and temperature. The final network is shown in the GoogleEarth picture.

All the equipment has been ordered and MEA are currently constructing it with the earth works for the station mounting poles well underway.

This will mean that there will be and more accurate data to make the disease predictions which will be more precise and comprehensive and reliable. This will give growers a higher level of confidence in making disease control decisions through the season. This should lead to a lower requirement for spraying, while at the same time giving a better level of control.

Riverland Wine thanks the growers who have co-operated by hosting the sites and the tremendous assistance and support we have received from the NRM Board in making this all happen.

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