‘Keep alert and plan’ is the take home message for grapegrowers from a three-year study that found reduced rain during winter is associated with reduced grape yields.
‘We now know that a reduction in rain from May to August to approximately one third of the historical average rainfall has a major impact on yield of between 20–40 per cent’, said Dr Marcos Bonada, a Senior Viticultural Research Officer with Primary Industries and Regions SA in its research division, the South Australian Research and Development Institute (SARDI).
‘Our advice to growers is to incorporate irrigation during dry winters to maintain soil moisture – even when the vines are still dormant. Don’t wait until the first indications of vine growth in spring to start irrigating.’
To assess the impact that reduced winter rainfall and different methods of soil water replenishment have on grape yield and quality, researchers from SARDI and CSIRO erected a series of rain shelters at the Nuriootpa Research Station over three seasons to test various methods of irrigation to replace winter rainfall.
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Source: Wine Australia