We have been using Aquaflex on the vineyard for more than five years now.
Aquaflex has become an essential tool to help with soil moisture management.
It is easy to use. The data provided is easy to interpret and has proven to be very reliable.
The wine world is becoming more discerning in its tastes.
Customers are now far more focused on wine quality and many markets are interested in how the wine was produced.
One of the keys to future success is being able to show your customers how your wine was produced with sustainable and environmentally conscious practices.
The savings in water can be substantial without even considering the fact that you may be able to reduce the effects of too much vigor in the vines,
and the cost savings of not having to deal with excess canopy growth.
Without reliable soil moisture monitoring it is very difficult to determine the current soil water status and the actions that must be taken to induce enough stress to reduce the vegetative growth or control fruit size.
Quality is not an accident; it is the result of intelligent thinking
A vineyard is a widely spaced row crop and as a result of this and the use of drip irrigation in most cases means traditional soil moisture sensors can struggle to characterise the soil water status due to the extremely variable soil water conditions.
A typical installation in a vineyard consists of 1 or 2 sensors per site. The diagram above shows the main root zone sensor installed on a slope to integrate the water content both horizontally (down row) and vertically (over the root zone) to provide an easily interpreted number to make irrigation management decisions with.
The deeper (optional) horizontal sensor is often referred to as a ‘check sensor’ and has dual functionality.
Firstly it can be used to make sure you do not over water. If placed below the main root zone at say 600mm (variety and soil dependent)
it will show you if your irrigation is too heavy and pulses of water are moving past the lower sensor and therefore the bulk of the root zone.
Secondly it can help monitor the onset of stress. As the water content is lowered in the main root zone the vine will start to extract water from lower levels in the soil profile. The lower sensor can be used to balance the stress imposed on the vine by allowing the viticulturist to monitor changes in extraction patterns from that depth.
This is where Aquaflex really comes into its own as the 3m long sensing strip helps integrate the water content along the row giving a very accurate picture of the irrigation requirements of the vines.