What’s happening in the vineyard (August 2018 update)

Published on 22 Aug 2018

We’re singing in the rain, we’re happy again!

It took a while but, we finally received some decent winter rains and are far luckier than other farmers in areas of QLD and NSW who remain in severe drought. We have had 61 mls in one week this August, which was desperately needed. It is critical that the moisture in the soil penetrates to at least a 600 ml depth toward the end of winter, where the vines root zone is located. As the vines begin to come out of dormancy at the start of spring, they send out feeler roots that will detect the amount of moisture present in the soil. If they detect dry conditions, this can have a very detrimental effect on crop loading. So this recent rain was very welcome indeed!

Soil moisture profile checks will be taken and monitored on a weekly basis during the coming months  We do this by placing a ‘Neutron Probe’ down various test location tubes in our vineyards to a depth of 1.2m to take readings, which can then be downloaded and studied using moisture monitoring software. This helps us to ensure the right amount of moisture is maintained in the soil structure, and determine when to irrigate and for how long.

As of 13 August the last of the pruning was completed. Due to the previous dry conditions, we are starting our spring tasks early, one of which is mowing the cover crop, this stops the crop competing with the vines for water and mineral nutrients. It also imparts nitrogen into the soil, thus improving soil structure. We expect bud burst to be earlier this year, so from the first week of September we will start to see the vines springing forth with fresh green growth, a particularly beautiful time in the Barossa.