Field demonstration trials are underway in vineyards and field-grown vegetables to show growers ‘on their patch’ the benefits, costs and methods of using composts. A wide range of results are available from crops including wine and table grapes, cherries, almonds, pears, young apple trees, citrus, flowers, carrots, potatoes, and capsicums. Please check out our Fact Sheets and if the information you want is not available, contact your Industry Development Officer for details specific to your industry.

If you’re a keen member of an innovative grower-group and you’re interested in the use of composts, we’d like to work with you! Please contact us to discuss the establishment of compost and mulching demonstration trials with your grower group. 

Grassroots Vineyard Mulching Trial Update
November 2012

Jason Cappello
Extension Viticulturist, Griffith 
NSW Department of Primary Industries

On Thursday November 22nd a field walk was held to demonstrate to local farmers how a project which has grape marc applied as mulch in different treatments undervine is progressing.

The Riverina area has a large volume of wine grape marc produced but growers in the area are not favourable toward the product, as historically issues have occurred with in row germination of seeds amongst other negative experiences. It has been reported that other districts are having great success with the product and this needs to be proven to the Regions growers by an infield trial of the product.

What is being done as apart of the project -

1.    No treatment to vines
2.    Grape marc applied at approx. 100t/ha to achieve a mulch layer
3.    Grape marc applied at approx. 100t/ha with added mixed NPK fertiliser at 250kg/ha 
4.    Grape marc applied at approx. 50t/ha to achieve a ½ rate mulch layer
5.    Grape marc with added chicken manure/litter applied at approx. 50t/ha
6.    Mixed NPK fertiliser applied at 250kg/ha with no grape marc applied

Attendees at the event were provided with a run down on the projects progress, aim and outcomes looking to be achieved. A field walk in the vineyard allowed the attendees to witness the application treatments made in the vineyard and also see how these impacted on vine root growth, soil moisture holding and weed management.

Following the recent rain the soil profile moisture has been filled full to capacity. Under the thicker grape marc mulch layer - 100t/ha (equivalent to 4 semitrailer loads) active white fresh roots were seen near the top of the soil in abundance compared to the untreated treatment. Also soil moisture content was highest in the thicker grape marc mulch treatment plot. 

Whilst the thick application of grape marc requires a large amount of product, it is showing that it would be suitable option for use in vineyard area sections which annually underperform from either moisture or nutrient holding capacity, as oppose to applying the rate across an entire vineyard.

Sensors setup to install in the soil to monitor 
the soil temperature for each treatment

Vineyard area slashed and setup in preparation 
for the trials just 3rd week of September

Photo taken of marc 2 months after application 
November 26 2012, vines at growth stage 29 
(vine were skirted for machinery access)