The later part of spring has seen conditions more settled than early spring with warmer temperatures being reported around Hawkes Bay. As a result spring growth has been steady after a slow start to the season.
All blocks have been shoot thinned with double buds and heads all thinned out, to produce an open canopy. Tucking is currently being performed across these blocks so that the canopy is upright and tight before the collard leaf plucker is put into these blocks at fruit set which is fast approaching.
Flowering is at 80% in Pinot Gris and Chardonnay and 5% in Sauvignon Blanc. In terms of timing of flowering and canopy height there seems to be no difference in the timing between organic and conventional regimes.
Botryzen and Protector have been used at 80% capfall in the organics block, with sulphur and copper. Switch has been used with a DMI and diathane at 80% flowering in the conventional blocks. A tight sulphur, seaweed, copper, protector program has been run in the organic blocks over early spring. The conventional program has used sulphur and diathane as the basis of the early season programme. At this stage all blocks look free of pest and disease and seem to be showing good health as the season progresses.
Moteo Ridge have done the second cultivation with a combination of the Ridgeback, Tournosol and Clemens machines. The area under the vines in the organics block is friable, weed free and level and has done a fantastic job. The use of different implements at different stages in the season has enabled us to turn over the soils in early spring, and break down the mounds formed with the use of rotary tillers in mid spring. Undercutters will be used to remove weeds from the friable tilth through the remainder of the season.
An EM (Effective Microorganism) preparation soil drench has been applied across the organic blocks to assist with the improvement of soil structure. Bart has had good results in using EM with assisting with the breakdown of some fairly ‘tight soils’ in the past. It is with this recommendation that we are using this product to help build a more friable, aerated soil.
Soil testing has been completed across organic blocks and conventional blocks with a basic soil test with organic matter completed and a multi residue test performed as well. We are also awaiting results of a soil food web test and a mycorrhizal analysis on vine roots between the blocks as well. This will provide us with baseline data which will be useful for comparative analysis as the project continues.
The project is planning another field day/vineyard walk on 7 December with consultant Bart Arnst.