Salinity refers to the total amount of salts present in soil or water.
In Australia salinity is dominated by sodium chloride salt (closely related to common or household salt) but most soils and water also contain salts of calcium, magnesium, potassium, carbonate, bicarbonate, sulphate, borate and nitrate.
While some salts such as fertiliser can be beneficial, too much salt of any kind is detrimental to plants and other organisms.
Temperatures in most Australian grape-growing regions are warm enough for vines to retain their leaves for a period of time after harvest. In cooler areas, this may only be for a few weeks, but more commonly it extends from 1 to 4 months in the hotter inland regions.
With consistently low flows into the Murray Darling Basin over the last few years and unprecedented restrictions on irrigation water allocations, winegrape growers need to consider alternative vineyard management options to maintain profitable businesses.
In the absence of additional water allocations growers may need to consider re-planting their vineyards with varieties and rootstock materials which respond better to low irrigation regimes and salinity.
This module has been prepared in light of providing growers and industry with immediate information that can be used to aid irrigation management decisions.
Green cover growing between the vines will use water, but even in a dry grapegrowing environment this should not be a deterrent to growing cover crops.
The vineyards in the hilly Eden Valley district of the Barossa wine region of South Australia yield high quality wine grapes. There is higher rainfall in this area than many other districts in SE Australia but supplementary irrigation is required for four months or more during summer.