SWE undertook a huge project to assist a major New Zealand winery to bring all their Marlborough vineyard irrigation systems up to ‘world class’ standard. This project, covering over 1000 hectares of vineyard over 11 sites, was undertaken over five months of the growing season in Marlborough, where maintaining water delivery throughout was paramount.
In the first stage, the irrigation control systems at 11 sites were standardised. Every controller was replaced with a newly installed NMC controller from Netafim. This new technology controls delivery of water and also monitors and logs water application.
SWE’s SmartAudits of the blocks came next, with our qualified staff assessing the condition of system components including dripline and equipment, as well as assessing performance of the pumps and system as a whole. This identified areas of weakness and ways to improve efficiency and system life.
In the third stage, fertigation systems were standardised across blocks.
Finally, SWE started a programme of regular servicing to keep the systems at optimum performance and efficiency, and extending the life of the systems. This protects the client’s investment in the system.
For the first time, vineyard managers are able to accurately monitor water delivery through their vineyard irrigation systems. Previously, failure of a service could only be detected through a long period of no water, as happened in the summer of 2012, by visual assessment of the vines. It is expected that this will improve productivity, provide better options for managing water usage, and allow vineyard managers to transfer between vineyards.
Vineyard managers now have full confidence that when they need to turn their systems on, they will be ready and working efficiently.