Addressing wine industry challenges: Fine-tuning irrigation scheduling using Near Infrared (NIR) spectroscopy

Dr Roberta De Bei and Dr Sigfredo Fuentes

Project financed by Wine 2030 (The University of Adelaide)

Water scarcity will continue to be an issue in Australia in a future climate change scenario. Improving water use efficiency by grapevines by developing new irrigation techniques and by improving irrigation scheduling will help the wine industry to face the issues of water shortage and climactic anomalies (heat waves). Near infrared (NIR) spectroscopy has proven to be effective in obtaining stem water potential (Ψs) measurements for grapevines, which is regarded as one of the most integrative measures of the whole-plant water status according to soil-plant-atmosphere conditions (De Bei et al. 2011). In this project Dr De Bei and Dr Fuentes will implement this technique to generate and make available site-specific calibration curves of NIR / Ψs to be used by the wine industry for precision irrigation. Furthermore, critical thresholds to fine tune irrigation scheduling will be obtained relying on vine physiology (water potential and NIR) rather than indirect methods, such as soil moisture or weather data.

Testing of this new technique will be implemented as part of the Vineyard of the Future initiative from the University of Adelaide, which will be a fully integrated monitored and logged vineyard dedicated as a test-bed for innovations in climate change adaptation.

A paper presenting results from the NIR technique, in the context of the VoF, was presented at the 7th International Symposium on Irrigation of Horticultural Crops (Geisenheim) by Dr Roberta De Bei, Dr Sigfredo Fuentes and Prof. Steve Tyerman. (See picture below)

Related publication:

De Bei, R., Cozzolino, D., Sullivan, W., Cynkar, W., Fuentes, S., Dambergs, R., Pech, J., Tyerman, S. 2011. Non-Destructive Measurement of Grapevine Water Potential Using Near Infrared Spectroscopy. Australian Journal of Grape and Wine Research. 17(1):62-71.

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