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FALL   •   WINTER   •   SPRING   •   SUMMER          New Vineyard Timeline
Grape - Spring Content


1-year Pre-plant · Develop Record Keeping System

The key to being able to implement a successful vineyard management strategy on a yearly basis is record keeping. Whether it is keeping track of the costs of inputs, documenting yield each year or mapping pest outbreaks, the more information you have collected in an organized record keeping system the better management decisions you will be able to make.

The biggest hurdle to implementing a record keeping system is often times getting into the habit of collecting the data in an organized manner. Computers have significantly increased the ability to develop databases that can easily track measurements over multiple years.

The following are the essential types of records to be maintained on a block-by-block basis to provide you with the information necessary to make informed decisions in your vineyard management strategy.

  • Nutrition (Soil and Petiole testing and nutrients applied)
  • Weather
  • Infection periods for grape diseases
  • Scouting results for weeds, insects, diseases, nutritional deficiencies
  • Preharvest damage assessments from disease and insects.
  • Yield
  • Pesticide applications or pest management strategies
  • Cost of inputs

Implementing an effective Integrated Vineyard Management strategy for grapes starts with knowledge of your own vineyard. Rather than thinking globally and treating your vineyard operation as a single unit, vineyard maps should be developed on a block-by block basis. Different varieties, different soil types, differences in nutrition or harvest strategies are all examples of block components that could be a reason to create a new block. Deciding how many blocks make up your vineyard operation and then creating a map for each is the first important step in monitoring your grapes. Think of vineyard maps as one, a template you will use for documenting what you observe in a vineyard, and two, the source of information that will be used in developing historical databases. These maps can be as simple as a line drawing or as complex as overlays on GIS maps. Again, the key to developing the most useful system of mapping and record keeping is to create maps of vineyard blocks rather than the entire vineyard operation.

Vineyard blocks should be mapped for two reasons. The first is to obtain the true dimensions of the field so the acreage can be accurately calculated. Hereby, the correct rates of materials such as pest control products, fertilizer and water for irrigation can be applied and waste is avoided, per acre yields can be accurately measured, and to assist in the processing of paperwork for Crop insurance claims or signing up for NRCS programs. The second reason is to pinpoint the location of pest infestations, nutrient deficiencies and other observed problems. A vineyard map should include surrounding terrain as well as buildings, roads, or other man-made features. Knowing whether wooded edges are present or absent is critical in assigning a risk for the Grape Berry Moth Risk Assessment protocol. Wooded edges also extend wetting periods in a vineyard block that can lead to increased pressure from powdery mildew, black rot, downy mildew and Phomopsis Cane and Leaf Spot.

Block-by-block record keeping is crucial in providing cost of production information, pest status through the growing season, and to identify problem areas that need to be addressed. Treating a vineyard operation as a single unit will not provide you the detail necessary to determine which block is profitable and if required inputs for problem areas are cost effective.

There are some key components that should be considered when developing a block-by-block system of mapping for any vineyard operation. These components should include but are not limited to:

Vineyard block dimensions. Knowing the exact dimensions of the block, including vine count by row, allows for precise calculations in the application of both pest management tools, fertilizers, and water for irrigation.

Varieties planted. This knowledge is helpful in identifying susceptibility of a particular block to the various diseases and insect pests. This also helps determine if copper and or sulfur can be safely used without potetial phytotoxicity problems. Table 3.1.2 in the NY and PA Pest Management Guidelines for Grapes lists relative disease susceptibility and sensitivity to sulfur and copper among grape varieties.

Surrounding topography. Identify the tree lines, slopes, waterways, ravines and impediments to both air and water drainage and any sources of alternate hosts for vineyard pests.

Structures within and bordering the block. Any barns, equipment storage, or other large buildings may impact the conditions found in the vineyard. Large buildings may decrease air flow, cause debris to collect in unusual places, and provide an over-wintering area for some pests.

Waterways and water runoff collection areas. Keep in mind the correct pesticide to use around waterways and where runoff of fertilizer applications will end up.

Driveways and Headlands. Knowing the location and size of headlands helps to keep block size calculations accurate.

Roads. Road salt, wind and grime from passing traffic will play a role in mapping, as well as how and when you can use your sprayer to make pesticide applications.

There can also be problems from off-site sources: Herbicide drift from applications made to cornfields, runoff from a truck washing pad or pesticide fill pad, applications from lawn care companies in neighboring yards, salt runoff from applications made to roadways during the winter, natural gas wells, and homeowner complaints about pest management and fertilizer applications that affect their quality of life.

Methods of creating a field map

Hand drawn maps - these maps roughly show outline of vineyard blocks with surrounding topography, buildings, roadways, etc.

Hand drawn maps used in conjunction with numbered rows and post lengths. These allow the user to better pinpoint the problem areas. Somewhere records are kept as to the number of vines/postlengths for each individual row.

Computer generated maps - same components as hand drawn maps but a bit neater and having map saved on computer increases a growers ability to make changes to a amp. Easier to print off a new map or make multiple copies.

GPS assisted maps - use GPS to mark boundries of vineyard block to get actual acreage. Use GPS when scouting to pinpoint location of problem. Can GPS every vine in every row in higher value grapes.

Resources available for record keeping:


NEWA - Network for Environment and Weather Applications

Content by:

Tim Weigle
New York State Grape Integrated Pest Management Specialist
Lake Erie Regional Grape Program


Andy Muza
Extension Educator, Erie County
Penn State Cooperative Extension

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