Local viticulturists are concerned about the prevalence of powdery mildew across the Riverland in the lead up to the 2014 vintage. It seems that despite best practice in terms of the timing of spray applications and careful calibration of spray rigs, many growers are confounded to find that some of their grapes have been quite badly affected.
It is particularly disappointing given the strong turnout on the part of Riverland growers to the Spray Application: Doing it Better workshops conducted by the Grape and Wine Research and Development Corporation (GWRDC) last November.
A series of short videos is also being made available for those who could not attend.
Video: Principles of spray application
Of the 480 attendees at the 15 workshops across the country, including two in the Riverland, 88 percent indicated they will make changes to the techniques they are currently using for spray application in the vineyard.
The workshops, led by international speakers Dr Andrew Landers from Cornell University, USA, and Dr David Manktelow from FreshLearn, New Zealand, shed light on current research in spray technology across the country’s mainland states. A highlight of the workshops, the practical vineyard spray demonstration component, focused on the importance of effective spray set-up, use of tracers for sprayer assessment and using new technologies to improve deposition and on-target application.
Speakers stressed the three factors the spray operator should keep top of mind – air flow direction, volume of air and the speed of the air. GWRDC Executive Director Stuart Thomson said, “The workshop series demonstrates GWRDC’s commitment to connecting current research to real-life practice. Effective spray application is vital for pest and disease management. GWRDC is pleased to have successfully coordinated the delivery of information on new technologies to industry that results in environmental and economic improvements”, he said.
Clearly, there is more work to be done. Regrettably, this year’s rock bottom indicative prices will not help the cause.