WA digs deep in its GWRDC Regional Program

Western Australia has focussed its use of GWRDC Regional Program funding for 2012–13 on establishing composting trial sites in Swan Valley and Margaret River. Each testing area features three different elements, involving compost, mulch and a control.

Vines at the Swan Valley site were planted in soils with high clay content. To control fruit yield and quality, the vineyard was irrigated using a regulated deficit irrigation regime. As a result, the data generated at the site showed substantial differences in the soil moisture levels below the compost, mulch and control rows, compared with the differences at other trial sites.

Soil moisture data is obtained through the use of gypsum blocks installed in the plants’ root zone and linked to data loggers. The gypsum blocks provide a reasonable interpretation of how efficiently the plant can extract water from the soil.

‘We are now in the process of collating the data from each composting trial site. There are a number of things we are looking at, including variations in soil temperature and the general health of the vines, and this information will be extended to members of the WA wine industry in the months ahead’, said Aymee Mastaglia, General Manager of the Wine Industry Association of WA.

A field day for the WA wine industry is being planned for late May or early June this year to demonstrate the use of composts and mulches and to share the results of the composting trials in Swan Valley and Margaret River.

For updates about the field day program and to register interest in attending, contact Aymee Mastaglia, aymee@winewa.asn.au

For more information about the Regional Program, contact Adrian Loschiavo, GWRDC Program Manager, adrian@gwrdc.com.au