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Weather stations to monitor grapevine disease risk

Annabelle Homer, Monday September 23, 2013 - 09:11 EST
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Plant pathologist Peter Magarey and Nicki Robins from Grape Barossa installing a new weather station. - ABC

Managing disease risk in the vineyard has just got easier for Barossa grape growers.

Four new weather stations have been installed in vineyards similar to what has been done in the Clare Valley and McLaren Vale regions.

Plant pathologist Peter Magarey says it's technology that will advise growers when and when not spray, saving them dollars and stress.

The stations include sensors for temperature, relative humidity and wetness as well as a rain gauge.

Peter Magarey says the stations are in addition to ones set up by the Bureau of Meteorology.

But he says these don't measure leaf wetness, which can be an indicator of vine diseases like downy mildew.

"Where as this weather station, we're surrounded here by vines and this is in an environment where the disease grows and you know to my time so far, I've never found downy mildew growing on a fence post, it's always on grape vines. So we put the weathering monitoring devices within the vineyard because that's where the disease is."

Nicki Robins, viticulture and development manager with Grape Barossa says there are 4 stations around the Barossa but there is potential to be more.

She says each station cost $2000 compared to the super deluxe models which can fetch up to $16,000.

She says this could mean it may be affordable for growers to install their own stations in their vineyards in the future.


© ABC 2013

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