Edaphic Scientific was recently commissioned by the New South Wales Department of Primary Industries (NSW DPI) to install a series of plant physiology monitoring stations on grapevines.
Known as The Grape Monitor, the stations were installed in the Riverina district of western New South Wales, Australia, near the town of Griffith. Four grape varieties are being monitored: Shiraz, Merlot, Chardonnay and Cabernet Sauvignon.
The main objective set by the NSW DPI was to monitor grapevine physiological response to extreme weather events, particularly heatwaves. A remote telemetry system, that can be freely accessed by growers at any time, was also a primary objective of the project.
Plant physiological parameters that are being monitored include sap flow (transpiration), dendrometers (stem growth) and canopy temperature. Environmental variables that are being monitored include temperature, relative humidity, and soil volumetric water content.
Already this summer there have been a couple of heatwave events and more are expected. It will be interesting to see how the different grapevine varieties respond and recover from the heatwave events.