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Participatory on farm trials for sustainable viticulture – a step towards positive change

David Shearer

Institute for Horticultural Development, Private Bag 15, Scoresby Mail Centre, 3176.

The project, ‘Participatory on farm trials for sustainable viticulture’ has been initiated as part of the Cooperative Research Centre for Viticulture (CRCV). It will provide the Australian viticulture industry with tools to validate research outcomes in site-specific situations.

Taking an integrated crop management approach, researchers from different discipline work with growers to identify key issues, compare management practices, measure results and make informed decisions based on these results.

The objectives of the project are to:

  • Design, develop and validate trials to assess integrated vineyard management practices regionally;
  • Facilitate grower participation in regional trials to assess and adapt practical, sustainable and economic integrated vineyard management practices;
  • Increase the adoption of sustainable viticulture practices;
  • Disseminate information and broaden the scope of sustainable practices using regional groups and demonstration sites;
  • Develop and conduct workshops for regional validation and adoption of research outcomes;
  • Evaluate the effectiveness of participatory research as a method for regional validation, adaptation and adoption of research outcomes in viticulture.

Wine grape producers access a large amount of information through workshops, seminars and publications. This information, generated through research and development, has been identified as a key attribute in attaining the goals of "Strategy 2025". A need has been identified, by industry, to validate research outcomes in the diverse regions of wine grape production and to support the expansion of quality grape production in a sustainable manner.

One of the limitations of adopting new practice is that viticultural research is undertaken in a small proportion of Australia’s wine growing regions. The project will give growers the tools to evaluate research, in their own vineyard, and base change of practice on the results of site-specific trials.

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