As has been previously mentioned, Riverland Wine has been working with Magarey Pathology to further update and develop the CropWatch service that Riverland Wine has sponsored for many years. Most growers will be familiar with the alerts and newsletters produced throughout the growing season depending on the risk or incidence of Downy Mildew.
The basic service was hugely improved last season in collaboration with the NRM Board through the integration of their automatic weather stations (AWS) with the Riverland Wine network. That work was undertaken with Riverland Wine funding maintenance and upgrades to a number of AWS across the network that now numbers 30 stations. Each AWS will now send vineyard specific data, including crucial information such as canopy wetness to enhance the accuracy of the disease prediction. This was a major improvement over the old and much smaller network that Riverland Wine owned and operated since 2004.
The next step is to get the information you need to reduce disease risk and spraying costs into your pocket; or more accurately, the phone in your pocket.
The app to allow this to all happen has been developed over the last few months and is now at Beta or trail version. It is fully functional and you should find it very useful in deciding if and when to spray your vines.
We want you to try it and help test it. Your experience and feedback will be crucial to ensure it is easy and practical to use. Your feedback will improve this Beta version so it can be perfected for final release next year.
This system is not only an Australian first, it is unique to world viticulture and something the Riverland can be proud of.