Grape irrigation and water management

Grape irrigation and water management
In many agricultural areas reliant upon groundwater, such as the Paso Robles Groundwater Basin, there is little or no information on how much water is extracted for irrigation at the individual farm level, which makes it challenging for groundwater sustainability agencies to effectively manage groundwater supply. The authors present a low-cost monitoring approach that employs irrigation-line pressure sensors and data loggers. Research article: Paso Robles vineyard irrigation study provides benchmark data to assist future area groundwater management.

How and when to irrigate grape fields?

There are a lot of different views when it comes to irrigation of grape fields. Rarely do two experienced vineyard farmers have an opinion on the proper annual irrigation scheme. Some farmers support that some varieties that make wine in particular regions do not require irrigation (provided there is some rain), while others do not agree. Those who do not support putting more water in their fields claim that due to more irrigation, the quantity of production of grapes increases but their quality decreases. The truth is that the quality of the wine depends to some extent on the water absorbed by the plant, as water affects the balance of acid-sugar content, which is one of the main factors that determine the quality of wine. However the amount of water required for a vineyard depends on many factors, such as annual rainfall, evaporation, age of plants, growth stage, duration of growing, soil type, environmental conditions, variety, and growing techniques.

According to the FAO, the total water requirement of the vineyard during the grape growing season varies between 500–1200 mm. In general, varieties used to make wine require less irrigation than those used for direct food. However, these are general rules, and no one should apply them without extensive research.

In case of extremely dry conditions, the vines begin to show signs of withering and loss of growth.

The important stages for Bell’s water needs are:

During bud burst

At this stage, the plant needs more water to begin growth in the new season. It is true that in most cases the water under the soil during winter rainy days is sufficient for the vine. However, in some cases of areas with sandy soil or prolonged drought conditions, additional water is required.

From flowering to blooming

This is the most important period because at this time the plants have to face a lot of water scarcity. Because of this, fewer fruits can be grown on the plant.

From fruiting to ripening

During this phase, the size of the grape fruit will decrease if there is a shortage of water, especially for the directly eaten varieties.

During the maturity phase

According to observations, grape quality characteristics may be increased during the maturation phase due to shorter and frequent irrigation sessions. Nevertheless, many growers, who grow wine-making varieties, do not like to irrigate at this stage. However, farmers should be careful about irrigation at this time. Giving too much water during the ripening phase does not allow grape varieties that are eaten directly to ripen properly, whereas in wine varieties it affects their sugar content. If it rains a day before harvesting, we should stop harvesting for 3-4 days, so that the grapes “dry up”, thus excess water will be exhausted and proper water content will remain, which is relative to their sugar ratio Also affects

Post harvest

To tolerate the low winter temperatures, the bale must produce sufficient quantities of wood. Therefore, many growers choose to irrigate their vines after harvesting, so that their leaves do not fall quickly, which stops their excess growth.

Experienced farmers claim that when the upper fibers of the vine go down and the upper leaves wither, they realize that there is a first shortage of water for the plant. Other farmers state that they find the first lack of water by looking at the leaves below. However, this does not apply in all cases. According to him, the second deficiency begins when the lower leaves are twisted and wilted.

Nowadays, high technology is used in precision agriculture, which provides producers with accurate measurements of the water needs of any specific vine.

Typically, from the time the grapes begin to grow, many farmers who grow direct-to-eat varieties apply a good irrigation session every week. In most cases, drip irrigation is used and the distance of the valves in the system is 50 cm (1,6 ft).

You can improve this article by providing a comment or picture about the irrigation techniques of your vineyard.

Grape irrigation and water management

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