EASING the balance between maintaining high biosecurity standards and ease of use for vignerons will play a key role in determining the future of pest and disease software in vineyards.
A six-month trial of a vineyard visitor management app in the Barossa Valley and McLaren Vale wrapped up recently.
The Vinehealth Australia pilot project, known as Project Boundary Rider, involved virtual fences about 130 separate land parcels managed by 31 viticulture businesses December to June.
GPS technology was used to detect the movement of each person carrying a smartphone with location services enabled. A purpose-built app called BRider then logged movement of the individual in or out of each geofence.
The visitor movements were collated into an electronic visitor book for each geofence, providing the visitor name, date of visit, timestamp and visit duration.
The total number of boundary crosses for the pilot was 8388. There were no significant biosecurity threats reported during the trial, which included the busy vintage period from February to April.
The trial attracted inquiries from as far afield as the United States and Spain.
Vinehealth Australia Technical Manager Suzanne McLoughlin, who managed the pilot project, said teething problems included significant battery draw on mobile devices and inaccurate fence mapping.
She said finding a balance between a user-friendly system while still providing enough detail to be a valuable biosecurity tool was crucial.
“If you are going to use it for biosecurity you really want as many people involved as possible,” Ms McLoughlin said.
“We really need to decide with industry what the best way to go is … we’re at the point of deciding what the value proposition should be and how do we make it simple.”
Vinehealth Australia is preparing a report on the trial for participants, Be Seen Be Safe and PIRSA, which funded the trial.
PIRSA will then decide whether further funding for the project is warranted. However, it is likely that additional industry or government organisations would need to invest in the project if it was to be rolled out more broadly.
McLoughlin said the greater the take up of the app by vignerons if and when it was rolled out again, the greater the benefit.
“If you are going to look at it from a holistic biosecurity perspective then you really want it to be all in for it to be as effective as possible,” she said.
“We definitely see the value in it we just need to consider the whole package and work out what would be the best system to go with if we were to launch it going forward.”