Optimization of Water Use in Vineyards in the Okanagan Using Precision Irrigation [fi16]
|Status||completed in 2018|
|Project Lead||Le Vieux Pin Winery / Enotecca Resort|
|Funding Partners||Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada, BC Ministry of Agriculture, Agriculture and Agri Food Canada, BC Ministry of Agriculture|
|Other Partners||BC Grape Growers Association, BC Wine Grape Council|
Climate change will result in longer periods of drought and more frequent periods of very high temperatures. These factors, paired with potential limitations on water supply at certain times of the year, will require that producers in the southern Okanagan obtain more precise information about their soils (structure, water retention capacity, macro and micro element composition) in order to better manage irrigation and fertilization practices. This project began to evaluate techniques that allow for customized irrigation of different sections of a vineyard based on varying soil characteristics within the vineyard.
The project began by conducting a detailed analysis of soil properties and mapped these differences across five vineyards. Irrigation equipment was installed for precise and timed delivery of water and nutrients specific to the mapped soil conditions. The project began initial monitoring of the total volume of water used for irrigation in the vineyards. Outside of the Farm Adaptation Innovator Program the project is continuing to monitoring water volume and is comparing this to an evaluation of the quality and quantity of production in the same vineyards.
The project is demonstrating how to reduce the amount of water used in a vineyard, by enhancing the application and the delivery of irrigation water and by controlling the amount delivered according to the soil/plant requirements. This also results in preparation for potential drought conditions by having an irrigation system designed for efficiency and precision.
Project findings to date were shared through a report (below) made widely available to the grape and wine sector, through field days and visits to the Enotecca vineyards to share and demonstrate the project, and through presentations and a workshop at The Viticulture and Ecology conferences in 2016 and in 2017.