Improving Australia’s winegrape profitability through digital technologies

Wine Australia welcomes today’s announcement by Deputy Prime Minister the Hon. Barnaby Joyce of a project to develop innovative processes for grape and cotton growers using advanced technology.

The four-year project – a collaboration between Wine Australia, Cotton Research and Development Corporation and Horticulture Innovation Australia – will integrate systems capable of simultaneous measurement and data provision to assist cross-sectoral holistic decision making for the management of yield, disease and stress.

Wine Australia Chief Executive Officer Andreas Clark welcomed today’s announcement and the $3 million investment through the Rural R&D for Profit program and said that the project will help grapegrowers to reduce costs and better manage risks.

‘This project will allow us to investigate the digital technologies that will assist growers in three key areas where early detection and management can make a significant difference to the profitability for Australia’s grapegrowers’, he said.

‘Yield loss through disease or weather events and inaccurate grape forecasting affects our sector each year, and advanced technologies are potentially a tool for our grapegrowers to help planning for these risks.

‘Through the development of processes and linking to better early detection systems, we hope that this project will help our grapegrowers to make holistic decisions earlier and reduce losses associated with disease, stress and yields.

‘This project directly links our Strategic Plan aim to improve vineyard performance, which will help to increase the competitiveness of our grape and wine community’.

Digital technologies for dynamic management of disease, stress and yield is a collaborative project between 15 organisations and includes research partners at the CSIRO, University of Queensland, University of Tasmania, The Fraunhofer Institute (Germany), University of South Australia and the AWRI. The project will be undertaken across multiple Australian wine regions.

The project’s outcomes for the grape and wine sector will include:

  • Improved disease detection in wine grapes using digital technology during the growing season, allowing rapid mitigation strategies to be implemented.
  • Lower chemical use to manage disease in table and wine grape vineyards.
  • Improved yield forecasting for grapes to facilitate smart management decision making.
  • Rapid delivery of information to growers about key crop parameters in the vineyard during the growing season through digital technology that will facilitate smart management decision making.
  • A UAV providing real time, high accuracy temperature trends in frost and heat prone vineyards. This advance warning will allow targeted protective measures to be taken prior to vine and crop damage.