Brendan Jarrett, General Manager at See Saw Wines
Brendan Jarrett, the General Manager at See Saw Wines, noted that See Saw Wines has always maintained its lead in producing sustainable wine grapes by embracing new technologies. Organic farmers do not rely on synthetic and chemical products to boost plant growth so they need to make sure they get the most out of their interventions. The team at See Saw Wines noticed some problem areas in their aging vines through visual inspection, but they did not have the ability to measure the extent of the underperformance. To increase the health of the vines, See Saw Wines apply organic mulch, however their current method of spreading a flat rate across the 170 hectares was not effective in addressing the imbalances in the vineyard. The team had previously used manned aerial vehicle technology in their farming practices however, their last aerial data before partnering with Aerobotics was collected over 15 years ago. The old data no longer represented the current state of the vineyard and the aging vines.
Using the Aerobotics Tree Insights product, See Saw Wines categorized their vineyards into high vigor, middle vigor, and low vigor zones. Organic mulch was then applied at a standard spreading rate of 3 T/HA in high vigour areas, 5 T/HA in the middle vigour areas, and 8 T/HA in the low vigour areas. The Trimble Ag Software system provided by Vantage New South Wale was used to upload the Aerobotics zonal maps and control the spreader to apply variably in the field.
Trimble Ag software used in conjunction with Aerobotics zonal maps
The introduction of VRA technology at See Saw Wines initially increased the amount of organic mulch spread due to the increased rate applied over a larger area of low vigour zones. However, this remedial action was necessary to counteract deficiencies and effect a long-term restoration of vineyard soil nutrients. Areas that had been flagged in 2019 as having low vigour significantly improved in vigour and performance.
Through the use of a VRA mulching strategy, See Saw Wines was able to apply corrective measures and increase vineyard performance within two years. The average farm vigour increased from 0.38 to 0.75 NDVI, and health increased from 0.14 to 0.29 NDRE between 2019 and 2021.
Comparison of plant vigour between 2019 and 2021
A health comparison of one Chardonnay block between 2019 and 2021 showed a noticeable improvement in health and a decrease in variation.
Comparison of vine health of Chardonnay vineyard between 2019 and 2021
Targeted organic mulch rate applications at See Saw Wines allowed them to direct more resources to low vigour zones, and they managed to restore the health of low-performing vineyards. In addition to reactive measures, See Saw Wines proactively use vigour zones to determine the choice of rootstocks for replanting. Sustainability is a core philosophy at See Saw Wines and with Aerobotics’ precision data, the team can manage natural resources and maximise the value of each vine on their farm.
New South Wales, Australia
Health variation insights and variable rate application