Continue pruning in line with requirements. A thorough mechanical prune should limit the amount of hand clean up and finishing work that is required. Well maintained, safe equipment should minimise the amount of downtime that would impede the completion of this important task.
Keep a close eye out when pruning for scale insects; if found, consider treatment. They are very difficult to spot during winter as they are usually very small. Scale insects, being sap feeders, can be vectors to pass on viruses and some diseases and they can also severely debilitate the vine by feeding on its crucial energy flows during spring and summer.
Many control options for scale treatment are restricted to ‘dormant only’ applications.
Trellis repairs should be planned and consumables obtained so that repairs can be completed before too much foliage grows in the spring that will impede repair efforts. Winter is a good a time for irrigation system maintenance, with reduced demand at this time of year.
Consider pulling apart filter assemblies for intense cleaning and close inspection.
Decommission leaky valves to fit new seals or seats. Repair items that have been patched up during peak irrigation season because the system could not be ‘down for too long’.
Proper maintenance in the off season is as crucial in ensuring irrigation systems operate as designed during the peak season, with minimum interruptions. We may have 100% for the coming year BUT balancing water availability with crop needs will only be more challenging if the forecast El Nino weather pattern limits inflows into the catchment.
It makes ‘cents’ to maximise the potential best use of available water and keep a close eye on water markets.