Levy funds are allocated each year for regional organisations to offer extension programs to winegrowers and winemakers as part of Wine Australia’s Regional Program. After several months of negotiations Riverland Wine is pleased to announce the following projects and activities have been approved. With a total budget of nearly $250,000, the projects will be rolled out over the next 14 months.
- Water Workshops: The first project in the series was the very successful Water Workshops held in May. Specific and detailed presentations and information were developed specifically for Riverland growers. Those who attended were unanimous that the focus on water policy and strategy clarified many of the complex water-headaches keeping them awake at night. The tool-kits enabled attendees to consider a range of scenarios for their own businesses. Extra sessions are being planned in response to popular demand.
- Precision Viticulture Forum: Following on from last year’s very successful event, this forum will showcase the latest trends in precision agriculture as they apply to viticulture. The team from Adelaide Uni which is working with Riverland Wine on specific regional initiatives in a project called ‘Hands off Hectares’ will present their progress in using precision machines in reducing production costs. It is all about trends and the future and one not to be missed.
- AWS network: For many years, Riverland Wine has collaborated with Peter Magarey providing downy mildew alerts assisting growers in making informed decisions regarding the control of this disease. However, there are limitations in the automatic weather station network that these alerts are reliant upon to gather the appropriate weather information. This will now change. In collaboration with the Department for Environment and Water’s extensive network, Riverland Wine will fund the addition of new in-canopy sensors and weather stations to take DEW’s excellent network to the ‘next level’ to ensure full coverage for the region’s vineyards. The result will be greatly improved coverage and accuracy of disease prediction data for the region.
- Grape Vine Virus A: GVA is an increasing recognised threat to the health of key grape varieties, including Shiraz, Malbec and Merlot. A number of Riverland vineyards have already suffered significant losses and once infected, vines cannot be cured. Infected vines typically die after three or four years. This project will seek to better identify the extent of the infections and look at ways to minimise the spread. The result… a better understanding of the threat and ways to minimise its effect.
- Disease alerts: This project will work with Peter Magarey to develop a better and more reliable downy mildew alert system and also in future incorporate powdery mildew and bunch rot alert information. This will provide a unique service to the Riverland grape growers and will utilise the expanded weather station network mentioned earlier. The result… better and easier disease alerts leading to reduced spraying and improved disease control.
- Vine daily water use: This project will help take the guess work out of irrigation decisions by better defining the daily vine water use over the season under Riverland conditions. By combining this information with the daily readings from the weather station network, growers will be able to more accurately calculate daily irrigation requirements. The result… more efficient water usage and possibly better management under heat wave conditions.
- Biosecurity and phylloxera forum: Vine Health Australia (VHA) are doing a terrific job in keeping our State free from the dreaded Phylloxera. VHA has recently reviewed many of the strategies to keep the pest out of the state and with the increasing use of interstate contractors, individual growers are being increasingly required to help in ensuring the pest is not being brought into their vineyards. This forum will present all the new requirements and changes to ensure growers are kept up to date.
- Technical website: Are you having trouble in easily accessing useful wine and grape information? Riverland Wine will develop a technical website which will give you easy access to available information from Australia and overseas.
- Study tour of the Murray Valley and MIA: Have you ever wondered about the irrigation methods and distribution systems in Victoria and southern NSW? Would you like to see what is happening in other wine regions? Join this bus tour and see first-hand what is happening and compare this with our achievements and maybe get some new ideas.
Over the next weeks we will provide a greater insight into the individual projects and their importance to the Riverland. Members will also get regular updates on progress.