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Heard it on the grapevine: field day explains pitfalls and plans to growers

GRIP OF THE GRAPE: Barbara Hall (South Australian Research and Development Institute), Mark Sosnowski (South Australian Research and Development Institute), Adrian Englefield (National Wine and Grape Industry Centre) and Regina Billones-Baaijens (National Wine and Grape Industry Centre) at Charles Sturt University. Photo JUDE KEOGH GRAPE growers from around the region gathered on Wednesday for a field day aimed at providing the latest research and support to growers, organised by the Grape and Wine Research and Development Corporation.
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Department of Primary Industries viticulture development officer Darren Fahey said the industry faced a number of challenges, including grapevine trunk diseases, and helping ensure that growers had the ability and information to manage pests and diseases was a major focus of the skills development program.

“One of the presentations was on botrytis which given certain weather conditions can decimate crops,” Mr Fahey said.

“Thankfully in recent years it hasn’t been a problem but you never know what’s around the corner, so we’re discussing those management options available for botrytis.”

The workshop included a demonstration of different types of bunch rot to help growers identify the disease before it spreads.

“We’re going out into the field and looking at eutypa and botryosphaeria dieback, that is where a fungus spreads through the environment and eventually kills parts of the vine if not the whole vine,” Mr Fahey said.

Although many of the strategies to contain diseased vines involve cutting back the crop, Mr Fahey said the return made it worthwhile.

“If you do nothing your vines will eventually die, so this is about managing options to keeps those vines in play,” Mr Fahey said.

“You will lose some production undertaking some of the techniques, however that’s better than losing the whole vine.”

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