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Grape growers unite to share water wisdom

Published by TasFarmHub on 17 January 2023

An upcoming field day on Tasmania’s East Coast for the wine grape industry aims to build the drought resilience of producers by addressing water and irrigation management issues now and in the future.

The Viticulture Field Day, to be held at Milton Vineyard at Swansea on January 31, is being delivered by the Tasmania Drought Resilience Adoption and Innovation Hub (TAS Farm Innovation Hub) in partnership with the Tasmanian Institute of Agriculture, Wine Tasmania and Wine Australia.

The TAS Farm Innovation Hub is one of eight Hubs nationally funded through the Australian Government’s Future Drought Fund.

Project Leader, Kathy Evans, said the field day was part of a project focusing on drought management for perennial horticulture plants in collaboration with Hubs in South Australia, Victoria and NSW.

“This project is investigating producers’ current approaches to irrigation and water management with the aim of making improvements to practices in the future to enhance production and build climate-resilient businesses,” Professor Evans said.

“The field day will give producers the opportunity to share experiences of prolonged dry conditions, how they are managing water and irrigation, use of innovative technologies to optimise water use and think about what things they can do now to improve their resilience during the next big dry.”  

Tasmanian growers, industry and climate scientists will present on the day and will cover how water can be effectively managed in vineyards in current and future climates. Vineyard-specific case studies and demonstrations will be presented by AgTech companies/advisors, including Swan Systems (WA), Airborne Logic (SA), Onside Technologies (NZ) and Ag Logic (TAS).

Unprecedented expansion of new irrigation schemes in Tasmania is bringing water to the East Coast, one of the driest and warmest areas in the state, with potential to unleash the region’s productive potential.

While access to water contributes to drought resilience, the solution is more than ‘just add water’. Transitioning from dryland to irrigated agriculture requires investment in new technologies that can expose producers to new financial vulnerabilities. New or different skills and knowledge are also needed to use water wisely.

TAS Farm Innovation Hub Director, Sandra Knowles, said the hub was focused on bringing sectors of the industry together to share this knowledge to build the resilience of producers to drought.

“It’s fantastic to see the industry get behind the hub and come together to share their knowledge and experience and investigate innovative solutions for the future,” Ms Knowles said.

“It will be a good opportunity for producers to hear from their counterparts in other regions and speak directly to a number of experts in the field and apply this knowledge to their own practices.”

On the day, guests will hear from the East Coast Grower Panel which includes representatives from Milton Vineyard, Kelvedon Estate and Freycinet Vineyards, as well as the hub project team including Tomas Remenyi from the University of Tasmania’s Climate Futures Research Group, Dave Gerner from Wine Australia, Paul Smart from Wine Tasmania, and leading providers of ag tech for irrigation and water management.

The Viticulture Field Day is on Tuesday, January 31, 2023, 9am. Limited tickets are available. RSVP January 23, 2023. 

Click here to register 

Media contact: Melissa Lewarn, 0427 354 058.

Information released by:
Communications Office
University of Tasmania
+61 3 6226 2124

Our ParTners

The hub is proud to work with a diverse network of over 20 Industry Partners, Delivery Partners and collaborators to build drought and climate resilience through hub activities. Through this network, we span the entire breadth of the Tasmanian agriculture sector and can support farmers, agricultural businesses and communities.
TAS Farm Innovation Hub - Growing Climate Resilient Communities

Funding & AcknowledgmentS

This program received funding from the Australian Government’s Future Drought Fund.

The Australian Government is contributing $12.4 million over 4 years through the Future Drought Fund under various grants. Hub partners and the University of Tasmania will provide co-contributions of an amount at least equal to the Australian Government funding over the same period.

We acknowledge the palawa/pakana people, the traditional custodians of the land upon which we live and work. We honour their enduring culture and knowledges as vital to the self-determination, wellbeing and resilience of their communities.

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