LandCare Grant awarded to MRW region 2013-2014

artpik001We are proud to announce that the MRVA has been awarded a Landcare grant for two projects.The first workshop was held in October 2013. Collection of vineyard information from participants is in progress and a further workshop is planned for August 2014.

The project aims to deliver practical strategies and resources to support vineyard Integrated Pest Management and Vine Nutrition in the Macedon Ranges.

Australian Wine Research Institute (AWRI) will collect and collate data from Growers with respect to Spraying regimes, and Vine Nutrition and create a data base. From this they develop an education program to assist growers improve their IPM and Vine Nutrition techniques. Workshops will be organised by AWRI to present findings and communicate strategies. It is expected that the projects will engage 40 grape growers.

Other associations will be invited to participate in the workshops. (Sunbury, Heathcote, Bendigo and District, Ballarat). They will have access to the project resources. This will also be an excellent opportunity to meet wine growers from our surrounding regions and to commence developing greater regional cooperation in viticulture as well as tourism, wine making etc. 

Summary of the two projects:

1. Grapevine nutrition in a changing climate

Using data made available from growers, AWRI will compile a regional database of Macedon Ranges vineyards for:

  • soil, petiole & sap analyses by variety for the past two seasons;
  • nutrient management practices including timing of application and range of products used; and
  • regional nitrogen inputs.

Tailored guidance and recommendations will be provided for future vineyard nutrition management strategies. This will be presented to the region in the form of one-day workshops.
This regionally-specific benchmarking exercise and tailored training will inform growers of their current status of grapevine nutrition and will aim to:

  • raise awareness to the implications of climate change on grapevine nutrient status.
  • provide skills in the identification of nutrient deficiencies/toxicities and strategies to rectify them; and
  • effectively manage nutrient losses (especially nitrogen) from vineyards.
  • create efficient nutrient management, decrease nutrient losses to the environment and enhance vineyard productivity and profitability.

2. Integrated pest management

This project seeks to identify and evaluate the range of chemical control practices used in the Macedon Ranges utilising spraying data provided by growers. The benchmarks and trends uncovered will help to identify where improvements in pesticide use can be made.

The project will involve:

  • Evaluation of spray diary records and discussions with growers.
  • Comparison of the timing and frequency of spray applications against industry ‘best practice’,
  • Providing a benchmark for pest and disease control specific to the region.
  • Identification of areas for improvement in pest management.

Tailored guidance and recommendations will be provided for future spray application strategies presented to the region in the form of one-day workshops. Results from the studies will be made available to members on the secure section of the site.