For the last few weeks, I’ve been on and off my tractor treating my vineyards before and after rainstorms. This operation takes more than a day each time to cover my 14.5 hectares.
But it’s essential! Even though our land needs water, rain can be disastrous for the vines, since it promotes the development of downy mildew. This risk is particularly high during the flowering period.
As a responsible wine grower, I need to apply the right quantity of “Bordeaux mixture” (water, copper sulfate and quicklime, used as a fungicide) to protect my vineyards while limiting the environmental impact. That’s why I’m delighted to be receiving DNA diagnostics from BaaS (Biology as a Solution). This innovative approach helps me decide when to apply fungicide and how much to use at Château Mamin.
Here's the latest BaaS analysis: The pressure was stable last Friday but continued to increase over the weekend. Our model predicts a risk of asexual propagation* on June 10. A second propagation event, linked to the peak on Monday, should also take place at the end of next week. Pay attention to the storms forecast this week and next, since they could seriously undermine vineyard health. The pressure should continue to rise over the weekend and the next asexual propagation event should occur around June 18.”
* Asexual propagation: when the fungus produces spores and infects the leaves
Why do DNA testing in the vineyard?
Merlot grapes are sensitive to this fungal infection, which dries the fruit and reduces yields. The earlier we can detect risks, the more effectively we can protect the vines using the minimum of anti-fungal product – instead of “spraying and praying.”
How does it work?
Every 3 days we collect samples from the sensors placed around the vineyard and give them to BaaS, a local start-up specializing in early pathogen detection.
BaaS extracts the DNA and analyses the presence of downy mildew spores using real-time PCR before any damage is visible.
When the risks rise, we can spot treat the vines in time to prevent mildew from spreading.
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