Wine Industry Newsletter

New installations to demonstrate AgTech

The development of new commercially available AgTech applicable to wine grape production is expanding at an exciting pace. These technologies are providing technical insights and production efficiencies that have not been accessible before.

The speed in which these new technologies become adopted can greatly depend on the ability of growers to see how they work first-hand and the honest feedback provided by users. The Department of Primary Industries and Regional Development (DPIRD) is enabling the demonstration of these new technologies under WA conditions with the aquisition of four iMETOS®3.3 weather stations.

The stations measure temperature, relative humidity, rainfall, wind speed/direction, solar radiation and leaf wetness and have the capacity to connect to a multitude of additional sensors. A disease risk model is included in the package and the data will be compared with incidence of real world disease severity to validate the model under WA growing conditions.

Two of these stations will be installed in commercial vineyards in the Margaret River and Great Southern wine regions and will be strategically positioned to maximise coverage in these areas.

Real-time readings from these stations will be accessible to growers. 

DPIRD is also planning a research project utilising these stations, with adjoining spore traps to investigate the volume of spore release of pathogens, such as powdery mildew and trunk disease relating to climatic conditions. This knowledge will contribute to more targeted and efficient spray programs.

Weather station installed within a table grape vineyard
An iMETOS weather station in a table grape vineyard as part of a current DPIRD trial.

Another AgTech demonstration will utilise irrigation scheduling technology. This system uses real-time plant water sensing and a variety specific algorithm to calculate efficient and effective irrigation scheduling.

DPIRD has assisted a company to identify suitable demonstration sites in Margaret River and the Great Southern for the installation of these units. 

For further information contact Richard Fennessy.