Provision of a skills development program for the New South Wales Wine-grape Industry
The NSW Department of Primary Industries (NSW DPI) commissioned the AWRI to design, coordinate and deliver a Skills Development Program to the NSW wine-grape industry during 2014/2015. The objective of this program was to develop the skills of NSW wine-grape industry participants, empowering them to manage their vineyards autonomously. As such, the program was not focused on the extension of research outcomes or the provision of advisory services, but instead aimed to build the capacity of industry to resolve issues and implement innovation. This was achieved through programs that highlighted practical management options (Research to Practice workshops, videos), taught technical skills (biometrics workshops) and provided objective measures of performance (benchmarking).
Pest and disease early warning
A network of ten weather stations was installed across Mudgee and the Riverina. Data from these stations were sent to a central server and made available via the AWRI website. Fortnightly ‘VineWatch’ bulletins were published throughout the year, providing timely and relevant information to wine-grape growers in those regions. Each bulletin contained local weather conditions, vine phenology, pest and disease updates and other local information provided by the team on the ground in those regions. A detailed survey was sent out across NSW to collect information about the incidence and severity of pests and diseases in NSW wine-grape growing regions and the typical management practices used for their control.
A team of experts presented ‘Vine Health’ field days in four regions: Murray Valley, Mudgee, Riverina and Canberra. ‘Grapevine nutrition in a changing climate’ workshops were also held in Orange, the Hunter Valley and Canberra. A ‘Mulch and compost’ workshop was held in the Riverina to present the results of an existing vineyard experiment in that region. A field display of different mulches and composts was included in the workshop and three videos were produced on this topic.