Precision Nutrient Management for Grapes
By all accounts, the 2020 vintage has been a good one – a result of dry summer conditions ideal for fruit ripening and quality. Yields have been reported as near average, or even above in some cases – all harvested under the never-before-seen challenges of the Covid-19 pandemic.
However, in a few short weeks, the vines will be covered in leaf again and the cycle towards vintage 2021 will be underway. Winter soil tests are currently being done, with a strong uptake of the Hot Water Carbon test that can be useful as a biological indicator for monitoring soil health.
The next step will be summer petiole and leaf-testing at flowering, to fine-tune the nutrient program towards another good grape harvest. Hill Laboratories set up a Combined Grape Profile (CGP) a few years ago that enabled testing on both a petiole and leaf blade from the same vineyard block, reporting against specific varietal “medium ranges”.
In this test profile, we analyse the petiole for the mobile nutrients Nitrate-N, Potassium, Phosphorus and Magnesium while the leaf blade undergoes the full major and trace element array of tests.
To make it easy, customers that are regular users can submit samples via our mobile sample submission app. Sampling instructions are described in the Grape Crop Guide, and sample bags (including a small zip-lock bag for the petioles) are available on request to the laboratory.
The mobile sample submission app is quick and easy to use! Follow the guide below to learn how to select the correct sample type and tests. Each sample bag has a barcode that can be scanned into the app, and again at receipt in the laboratory to maintain traceability.
We strongly recommend using a consultant or nutrient advisor to fully benefit from soil and leaf testing, as correct sampling and consideration of non-nutritional factors will inform on best management practices. Arrange for soil sampling to be done now, and diarise your flowering leaf and petiole tests to take positive steps to make vintage 2021 another strong year.