Saturday, 13 December 2014

Research Plot Weather Data

As promised in my last post, below is the results of the 2014 weather station data collected at the research plot site.  This station collects not only the temperature but also: leaf wetness, solar radiation, wind speed (and gusts) and relative humidity.  I showed the 2013 data as well for comparison.  The temperature data was included in the previous blog and not shown here.

2013 Data
Location: 107 Burton Main Road
Min

Max

Average
Relative Humidity (%)
17.1
100
77.4
Solar Radiation (Watts/m2)
0.6
1147
157
Wind Speed (m/s)
0.0
4.03
1.2
Wind Gust (m/s)
0.0
14.9
4.5
Leaf Wetness (%)
0.0
100
31


2014 Data
Location: 107 Burton Main Road
Min

Max

Average
Relative Humidity (%)
20.3
100
83
Solar Radiation (Watts/m2)
23
1171
514
Wind Speed (m/s)
0.0
2.27
0.9
Wind Gusts (m/s)
0.0
12.09
4.0
Leaf Wetness (%)
0.0
100
35

So overall the numbers are pretty similar to 2013, which I think is expected in these variables.  we appear to be slightly moister in 2014, which coupled with lower average wind may have contributed to the mildew issues we experienced this year.



There will likely not be a new post until the New Year so everybody have a safe and happy holiday season - but still make sure you drink some wine!

Monday, 24 November 2014

Climate Results 2014

So another growing season has come and gone and for the first time we have managed to go out and collect all our data before snow! 

This year we decided to replace all the batteries in the units as well. The batteries have a 5 year life span, but after 4 years we decided it we better to replace them then now, then worry that they would not last the year. 

Growing Degree Days (GDD) is a measure of heat accumulation used to predict plant development rates such as the date that a crop will reach maturity. GDD is calculated by taking the average of the daily maximum and minimum temperatures minus a base temperature, (in our case 10 °C).  The yearly GDD is cumulative throughout the growing season (April 1 to October 31).

Growing Degree Days (GDD)
Region
2012
2013
2014
Nakusp
935
1074
1033
Arrow Park
933
1059
997
Burton
1029
1139
1077
Needles/Fauquier
1058
1144
1060

We expected that our 2014 was a warmer year, but in looking at the data, our GDD was slightly less than 2013.  A comparison with Summerland: 2012 was 1333 GDD; 2013 was 1415 GDD and 2104 is 1389 GDD. 

Looking at our frost free days, we do see quite difference this year. In many locations, there had not been a fall frost occurrence up to the point of download (early November). For our purposes we used “slight” frost as our parameter, using 0°C for our last spring frost and -2°C for our first fall frost.  

Frost Free Days (FFD)
Region
2012
2013
2014
Nakusp
148
170
191
Arrow Park
134
165
175
Burton
160
175
177
Needles/Fauquier
123
162
171



I will post some data on our weather station in an upcoming blog.  As always, comments are welcome and appreciated,



Wednesday, 22 October 2014

Year End Report - Whites

Powdery Mildew growth 
As mentioned in an earlier post here is the year end report on the white varieties, again building on the mid-term report.

48-05-49, Osceola Muscat: These varieties grew quite well; however it suffered from quite heavy weed infestation. The weeds likely contributed to the mildew issue as this one was hit really hard mildew issues. we will likely prune it back to the fruit wire and cane prune.

Epicure, Petit Milo, Mad Angeline: These varieties were also neglected in the weed area, but managed to be more resistant to mildew issues - but not fully immune.  They definitely had some, but closer to the low side than the heavy side.  Less aggressive in growth than 48-05-49, but still had very nice growth and fairly consistent in the rows.
Leaf damage from powdery mildew

Mad Slyvaner, Auxerrois: Both these were hit very hard with PM and it really slowed down their growth as well, with neither variety growing to aggressive. Auxerrois is listed as being resistant to PM, but it definitely is not.  These may be pruned right back to 2-buds and start again

Chardonnay, Ortega, L'Acadia Blanc, Siegerrebe: Siegerrebe may have been the hardest hit with PM of all vines in the plot, but it still seemed to grow consistent with the others in this group.  It will be a spring decision  on how to prune these with some back to 2 buds and some to the spur pruned method.

All in all the growth of our 2 year old vines is what we expected with only a few that under performed.  With better attention to a spray program and weed control we expect that next year will be a great measuring stick for growth in our region.

Tuesday, 21 October 2014

Year End Report - Reds

So another year has gone by in our research vineyard.  If we pick things up from our mid season report in July we can see that the hot and dry weather had both positive and negative effects.  From an earlier post you can see some concerns about irrigation and possible having a shallow sand bed in some areas, suggesting our water is leaving the vineyard rather quicker than we thought.  A bit more attention to irrigation will be required next year.  The big issue this summer was running out of volunteers to maintain our spraying program.  We missed a few sprays in critical times and powdery mildew really took off.   Plans are already in the works for a better system next year as it will be very critical if we are to get fruit.  Here is year end update on the Reds.

Marquette vines that never grew in 2014
Baltica/Marquette: neither of these varieties ever really took hold, with most vines stunted and never really reaching the fruiting wire.  This can be attributed  a little bit to lack of moisture as noted in an earlier post, so with that in mind we will prune back and start fresh again in 2015.  This vines were quite resistant to powdery mildew as well.
Nice growth in Zweigelt and Leon Millet

Regent/Zweigelt/Pinot Noir Cl 115/Leon Millet: Regent lagged a bit behind the other in this group, but all grew rather nicely and even production throughout the rows.  Pinot Noir was hit with powdery mildew and Zweigelt sustained a bit as well, but the rest of this group were pretty hardy and resistant. A number of these will be pruned to the fruiting wire in a cane pruning method

Baco Noir/Labelle/Cab Libra/48-05-83:  Cab Libra had a very good bounce back from the first portion of the year, but still struggled a bit at the north end of the row.  Labelle finished the year with the most vigorous growth of all reds.  Unfortunately all these varieties had very heavy powdery mildew issues - even the Blattner types which should be more resistant.  Cab Libra will be pruned back, but the other varieties will be pruned a combination of cane and spur (cordon).

A final report on the whites will follow soon!

Monday, 11 August 2014

Insights to the Research Plot

This post will focus on some two interesting facts observed this week in the vineyard.

1) Site drainage
2) Powdery Mildew

Site Drainage
I have posted in the past how it seemed very odd that vines in the same row show very mixed growth patterns as well some varieties in general that seem to lag way behind - like Baltica which budded early than any other variety.  Well there might be a very plausible reason.  The weather has been very hot and dry since early July and while the vines look very healthy above ground there may be a water issue below ground.

Dried ground indicating lack of water in certain areas
corresponding with slower vine growth

I mowed the vineyard earlier on in the week and noticed that in some areas the weeds/grass was quite thick and green, but in other areas (on the same row) it was very sparse and even dry brown.  On further inspection, where many of the dry brown areas occurred in the vineyard, it corresponded quite closely with the poor vine growth - a narrow band down the middle starting at the top (whites) and getting more widespread near the bottom (reds).

Dried areas through the row between rows 19-20.  Vines here
show less vigor then in other areas.
It appears that within the vineyard itself our soil profile is quite a bit more diversified then initially thought.

Our initial tests showed and good layer of sandy loam in the 4 test pits we dug with a more coarse sand layer occurring around the 65 to 70cm mark in all locations. It seems with the middle of the plot there may be a much shallower sand layer and these areas  could be suffering from lack of water, stunting the vine growth.  At the bottom area, around the lower 4 or 5 rows, it is essentially the whole row that is showing dried brown grass, indicating a lack of water.

This will need some more observation as the vines themselves do not look too stressed from lack of water so it is too soon to say this is the only reason for some slow growth, but it definitely could be a contributing factor.



Powdery Mildew

Powdery mildew (PM), also known as oidium, is caused by the fungus Uncinula necator. This fungus has a narrow host range attacking mainly grape plants and a few related species.  I will not go into all the details of what PM is and the damage it can cause as Google can do it better then I can, but for vineyards it is a very common occurrence particularly in wetter climates like ours.  Kumulus spray (organic sulfur) is the spray of choice and we have been able to spray our vineyard 4 times this years - not enough it seems as we have some vines that are affected. We currently use a backpack sprayer, which is fairly inefficient and does not have the pressure to penetrate all the foliage that well.

I think our infection is early and not many leaves were identified with PM, mainly there was evidence of discoloration and splotches on the canes.  



Early signs of powdery mildew on Ortega canes


We tried to select as many varieties as we could that were more resistant to PM but our weather has been ideal for PM so it hard to combat.  This is less of a concern for us this year as we are not allowing our vines to fruit, but in coming years, controlling PM is essentially as it will rot the fruit rendering it unsuitable to wine.






Affected varieties included some that are reported to be less susceptible to PM like Auxerrois and the Blatnners so very few were missed.

Whites: Siegerebbe, Ortega, Auxerrois, Mad Angie and Mad Sylvaner, Petit Milo, Epicure, 48-05-49

Reds: LaBelle, Zweigelt, Baltica

Another spray in 7 to 10 days should aid in control and prevent PM from spreading to unaffected vines.  Our hope is to secure a more efficient means of spraying for next year, so our sprays will be easier and more efficient and prevent further outbreaks.

As always, I welcome any comments of questions,

Monday, 28 July 2014

Mid Season Report - Whites

As promised in an earlier post, presented below is the mid-season report on the white varieties.  Overall for year 2, I would say that the whites have been more consistent in their growth then the reds but a bit more vigorous and difficult to control.  In most cases we should be able to lay off very nice canes on many of the varieties this year.

Nice consistent growth on 48-05-49 and Epicure
48-05-49/Epicure:  Achieved 100% bud burst sometime after May 11 (48-05-49 was at 30%, Epicure was at 80%).  These varieties are quite vigorous, and quite consistent throughout the row; however, both are performing better at the south end compared to the north end.  The internode is about 3 to 4 " for 48.05.49 so pretty good.  Epicure has very poor internodes - closer to 5 to 6".  Even with all the vigor, it is difficult to slow it down.  Both these varieties need a bit more maintenance to control the foliage.

Madeleine Angevine/Petit Milo/Auxerrois:  Achieved 100% bud burst shortly after May 11 (MA at 75%, PM at 65%, Aux at 90%).  These varieties are low vigor for the most part; however there are some sporadic vines in each row that are quite vigorous, particularly at the south end.  Smaller leaves on these varieties, which may be better for fruit ripening and mildew control as they will produce less shade.  The internode is very nice, ranging from 2 to 4". So far this is a very manageable vine with low maintenance to date.

Good internodes on Mad Angie
Large node spacing on the Osceola Muscat.
Madeleine Sylvaner/ Osceola Muscat: Achieved 100 bud burst shortly after May 11 (MS at 75%, OM at 80%).  These vines have proved to be very vigorous and difficult to control.  Osceola Muscat is close to extreme vigor.  Similar to the Red variety "LaBelle", some of the canes we laid down for Osceola Muscat died, while the rest of the shoots remained alive.  Due to the excessive vigor, controlling the internodes have been difficult, with some  shoots have spacing close to 8".   The north end has marginally slower vigor but still higher than average  These are high maintenance vines.  Mildew could be a concern with all the foliage.  Top Cordon Trellis may be a better option for this variety.

Chardonnay (Cl 76): Was quite slow to start having achieved only 50% bud burst by May 11.  While still slow, the growth has been very consistent over the row, with decent node spacing (3 to 4").  Very low maintenance in the vineyard; however, we did experience some winter death, so it will be interesting to see how it overwinters again.

Ortega/Siegerrebe/L'acadia Blanc: By May 11, both Ortega and L'acadia Blanc had achieved 90% bud burst.  Siegerrebe was very slow to start at only about 10%.  All varieties are pretty consistent throughout the rows, but as with other varieties, slightly slower at the north end.  Ortega and Siegerrebe have very nice internodes, L'acadia node spacing is average ~4 to 5".  These appear to be fairly easier to control in the vineyard with low maintenance to date.
Partial view of the whites in general



Sunday, 13 July 2014

Mid-Season Report - Reds

Greetings all, our summer started pretty wet with a decent amount of precipitation falling in June, prompting 2 or 3 mildew sprays.  As we approach mid-July, the sun is out in full force and (knock on wood) no signs of mildew on the vines.  I turned on the irrigation last week for the first time this year.  As our vines get more established, the need to irrigate will get less and less, to the point where a bit of drought and stress will be ideal for the vines.  We also got into a bit of gopher trouble with some damage on a few vines from a resident rodent, but hopefully we curtailed it before it got too bad.

If we go way back to the May 17th post, I detailed the stages of bud break on each of the red varieties. for this post we will look at where things are at now.

Marquette - one vine struggles, others thrive
Baltica/Marquette: by May 11, all Baltica had achieved 100%  bud burst with Marquette not far behind confirming our research that these were early budding varieties.  While there is a mix of success, for the most part the growth since bud burst has been really slow.  About 30% are barely above the height of the milk carton, with the struggles appearing to be more on the North end of the row.  Not always, in some cases a vine is really struggling and beside it is a vine that is thriving.  It the struggles continue, lab analysis may be required on the leaves to see if there are some nutrients lacking.   These varieties are showing some nice internode spacing and are proving to be quite manageable in the vineyard.

Regent and Pinot Noir - nice consistent growth in entire row
Regent/Zweigelt/Pinot Noir Cl 115/48-05-83: by May 16 these varieties were very near 100% bud burst.  All 3 varieties are showing consistent growth throughout the rows and have quite manageable vigour.  The internode spacing is pretty good.  All varieties should be established enough to lay down our first fruiting cane this pruning year.  To date quite manageable in the vineyard.






Leon Millet - poor internode spacing as a result of excessive vigour
Labelle with die back on the cane
Leon Millet/Baco Noir/Labelle: by May 16 these varieties were very near 100% bud burst.  Leon Millet and Labelle are really vigorous and proving difficult to control. Despite allowing multiple shoots to grow in attempts to slow things down, the vines continue to grow, with internode spacing close to 7 or 8 inches on many vines.  In year one we laid down canes on the LaBelle as it was so vigorous we felt it could handle the additional stress.  Many of the canes started very nice, but then all the shoots on the cane mysteriously died back last week.


As there are other thriving shoots on the same vine still alive we assume it was too much stress and growth for such a young vine.  Baco Noir has slightly less vigour, but the internode spacing is still quite large.  A little more investigation is required to see how we can control the vigour.  These vines require more attention in the vineyard compared to others.


Cab Libra: Cab Libra was very slow out the gate, where only 25% bud burst had occurred by May 16.  The variety also had substantially winter die back and we ending up have to replace 7-8
vines.  Cab Libra is still very slow, similar to Baltica and Marquette.  In this case the vines appear to be doing better at the north end.  The vines are showing some nice internode spacing, but it will be tough to be able to lay canes down on the whole row this year.

In the next week or so, I will detail the progress on the white varieties.  In the meantime, I welcome any and all feedback on what I presented here.

Sunday, 8 June 2014

Vineyard Update

So we are into June now, and the vines are pushing our shoots like crazy.  Volunteers are busy keeping things in check, ripping of suckers and tying up the canes.  For this year we decided that we not let anything flower or fruit, so we are also pinching off any little clusters that form.  We want to keep the vine concentrating on growth and root production at this point.

Nice spacing on nodes
We can always use more volunteers for this work.  We have tried to break the vineyard down into rows with volunteers "adopting" the basic maintenance on a particular row (or more!).  At this point we have 21 rows, with only 11 being looked after.  If there is anybody out there willing to help, let me know and it will much appreciated.

Winter Damage
Winter kill on Cab Libra
On closer inspection, we actually sustain a bit more winter damage then initially thought.  A number of the canes that we laid over got hit hard, with little or no bud production.  On most of these we had to start over again from lower shoots.  It was an especially cool winter and new vines are so fragile they could not handle it.  The worst hit variety was the Blattner "Cab Libra".  It sustained damage in close to 35% of the row.  We are hoping there  will be some action from shoots coming off the roots and a better success rate next year.

Events:

We had a very successful Red Wine and Food Pairing session on May 31, presented by Linda Harrop and myself.  We had 10 participants involved, tasting Gehringer Brothers 2012 Pinot Noir, Skimmerhorn 2011 Marechal Foch and Kalala 2009 Organic Zweigelt.  The Zweigelt was by far the choice of all.  Thanks to all who came out and the Burton Learning Centre for sponsoring the event.  Maybe a Sparkling wine event in the Fall?

June 20-21 is Burton City Daze.  ALGGS will be working with the Burton Barleys Baseball putting on the beer garden.  Come on out and support the event, loads of activities, dinner, music etc.  If you are interested in helping out  in the beer garden, let me know.





Saturday, 17 May 2014

Spring Budding Reds

A couple of days ago I posted about the white varieties and their spring progress, from buds to shoots.

This post will look at the reds.  Reds are for the most part a bit behind the whites, but as many of them are selected for a short growing season it may not make a difference.  Again we noticed that the north end seems further along then the southern end.  Will this be an ongoing concern or trend?  Only time will tell, but something for us to keep watch for.

April 24, 2014
Typical bud swell

Early Bud Swell: 48.05.83 

Bud Swell: Labelle, Zwiegelt, Regent, Pinot Noir Cl 115, Cab Libre

Advanced Bud Swell: Baltica, Marquette, Baco Noir, Leon Millet

May 1, 2014

Bud Swell: 48.05.83, Zwiegelt, Regent, Pinot Noir Cl 115, Cab Libre

Advanced Bud Swell: Labelle, Marquette, Baco Noir, Leon Millet

Bud Break: Baltica 



      
Baltica, May 1
May 11, 2014

Bud Swell:  Cab Libra (about 10% at advanced bud swell or bud burst), Baco Noir (about 15% at advanced bud well or bud burst)

Advanced Bud Swell: Pinot Noir Cl 115 (about 30% at bud burst), Regent (about 30% at bud burst), Labelle (about 40% at bud burst)


Marquette, May 16
Bud Burst: Baltica (100%), Marquette (80%), Zweigelt (75%) Leon Millet (50%), 48.05-83 (50%) 


May 16, 2014

Bud Swell:  Cab Libra (about 25% at advanced bud swell or bud burst)

Bud Burst: Baltica (100%), Leon Millet (100%) Marquette (95%), Zweigelt (95%),  Baco Noir (95%),  Pinot Noir Cl 115 (95%), Regent (80%), Labelle (80%), 48-05-83 (80%)


With the exception of Cab Libra, all the reds are moving along quite well.  The Cab Libra seems to be struggling with many of the shoots showing very little activity.  This variety may need some additional attention if nothing happens soon.

With rain in the forecast for the weekend, then some hot sun following, we should start to see some heavy growth n the next couple of weeks, which of course will mean shoot tying and suckering chores!  Volunteers?


Tuesday, 13 May 2014

Spring Budding, Whites

The exciting part of spring with our new vineyard is documenting the stages from bud to bud burst. This is very crucial information for our research as it can determine which varieties will perform well.  If they bud too early they could be susceptible to a late frost and potentially wipe out a whole growing season (or seriously stunt it).  If they bud to late, it could lead to fruit that does not fully ripen.  So what is too earl or too late for our region and our varieties?  I guess over the next few years our research and data collection will dictate what those parameter are.

If we look at just our White varieties in this blog we can break the data down by date and variety with at least a few vines showing these stages.


April 24, 2014
Typical bud swell

Early Bud Swell: Epicure, 48.05.49, Siegerrebe

Bud Swell: Chardonnay Cl 76, Auxerrois, Ortega,

Advanced Bud Swell: Madeleine Sylvaner, Madeleine Angevine, L’acadia Blanc, Osceola Muscat, Petit Milo






May 1, 2014

Bud Swell: Epicure, 48.05.49, Siegerrebe, 
Auxerrois,
Early bud burst on Chardonnay Cl 76


Advanced Bud Swell: Madeleine Sylvaner, Madeleine Angevine, L’acadia Blanc, Ortega,

Bud Break: Osceola Muscat, Petit Milo, Chardonnay Cl 76, 


Osceolo Muscat








May 11, 2014

Bud Swell:  Siegerrebe (about 10% at advanced bud swell or bud burst),

Advanced Bud Swell: 48.05.49 (about 30% at bud burst)

Bud Burst: L’acadia Blanc (90%), Ortega (90%), Auxerrois (90%), Osceola Muscat (80%), Epicure (80%), Madeleine Sylvaner (75%), Madeleine Angevine (75%), Petit Milo (65%), Chardonnay Cl 76 (50%)




So by May 11, 2014 every white variety had sustained some bud burst activity.  There are definitely some slow movers, but overall things are about where we would expect and we should be beyond the frost factor.  

One odd thing that seemed to be noticeable - most of the advanced stages were observed at the northern end of the plot.  It is unclear at the moment why this is and deserves some further attention.

Information on the Reds to follow.



Sunday, 11 May 2014

Vine hardiness

Well it was a long winter, but finally towards the end of March we were able to get out, prune and assess any winter damage to the vines. In general the vines performed quite well over the winter with only a couple of losses. Using an arbitrary ranking system of 1 to 5, where 1 is the most "winter hardy" and sustained the least damage, a brief outline of our assessment is below.  For the most part the vines were pruned back to 2 buds which should provide better growth this year.

Reds:
48-05-83: low summer growth, sustained some winter damage and was pruned back to 2-buds.  Hardiness rank: 3

Labelle:  good summer growth, mainly pruned to 2 buds, but some canes were laid down for first cordon.  Hardiness rank: 2

Cab Libra: sustained winter damage to canes and was pruned back to 2-buds.  Hardiness rank: 4.5

Baco Noir: Very vigorous summer growth.  No real winter damage and some canes were laid down for first cordon.  Hardiness rank: 2

Zweigelt: Low summer growth. No real winter damage, pruned back to 2-buds.  Hardiness rank: 2

Leon Millet: good summer growth.  No real winter damage and some canes were laid down for first cordon.  Hardiness rank: 2.5

Pinot Noir (Cl. 115): Low summer growth. Some winter damage and pruned back to 2 buds.  Hardiness rank 2.5

Regent: Moderate summer growth, small amount of winter damage, mainly pruned back to 2 buds.  Hardiness rank: 2

Baltica: Very low summer growth.  No winter damage, pruned back to 2 buds.  Hardiness rank: 1

Marquette: Very low summer growth.  No winter damage, pruned back to 2 buds.  Hardiness rank: 1

Whites

Siegerrebbe: Good summer growth.  Some winter damage in middle cane area, pruned back to 2 buds.  Hardiness rank: 3

L'Acadia Blanc: Good summer growth.  Little or no winter damage, some canes laid down for first cordon.  Hardiness rank: 1

Ortega: Good summer growth.  Some winter damage in middle cane area, pruned back to 2 buds.  Hardiness rank: 3

Chardonnay (Cl 76): Good summer growth.  Winter damage on canes, some quite high up.  Pruned back to 2 buds.  Hardiness rank: 2

Oseolo Muscat: Good summer growth.  Very little winter damage.  Some canes laid down for first cordon.  Hardiness rank: 1

Auxerrois: Low summer growth. No real winter damage, but all vines pruned back to 2 buds.  Hardiness rank: 2

Mad Sylvaner: Good summer growth.  Some winter damage, all vines pruned to 2 buds.  Hardiness rank: 3

Mad Angevine: Good summer growth.  Some winter damage, all vines pruned to 2 buds.  Hardiness rank: 3

Petit Milo: Low summer growth. Some winter damage, all vines pruned to 2 buds. Hardiness rank: 2

Epicure: Good summer growth. Quite a bit of winter damage.  Hardiness rank: 4.5

48-05-49: Good summer growth. Quite a bit of winter damage.  Hardiness rank: 4.5

Two things we noted:

1) Winter damage seemed to be heavier in the low spots we have in the white rows.  The low spot provided a bit of a sink hole where the cool air accumulated and the evidence suggests it was enough to affect the vines in this area.

2) We also got hit with some powdery mildew so a heavy spray of lime sulfur was applied to kill any existing spores.

The next blog will outline some data on the stages of budding on each variety.



Friday, 11 April 2014

2013 Climate Study Results

Greetings all!  Quick note, our March 26 wine tasting event was postponed, new date to be determined.

As promised in my last blog below is be a presentation of the lasted results from our climate study.  Overall 2013 felt like a better year and a better growing season then 2012 and the numbers reflect that (good ole trick knee was right again!).  Again all our data is calculated over the growing season from April 1 to October 31.

A big shout out and Thanks to Jerome Goodman, fellow Burtonite, who took it upon himself to volunteer his time to take our hard data (and there is a lot, nearly 60,000 data points per unit!) and write a program to calculate all the data for us.

A few issues we discovered in our data collection.  We noticed that some of our data stopped in September (whhaaat?). Investigation into this revealed that our dataloggers were collecting data at too high of a rate (every 10 minutes) and the data capacity of the unit was exceeded and  the units stopped recording.  That seemed odd so we looked at our 2012 data and same thing - we just missed it last year.  Bugger!

So for the units that stopped we extrapolated the data from nearby units in a similar "zone" and re-calculated. We went back and did the same for the 2012 data.  

To make sure we do not have the issue again we re-visited every unit and re-set to collect data every 30 minutes (Thanks Volunteers!)  This solves the capacity issues, as well gives us way less data to sort through so makes interpretation easier as a bonus!  So with everything recalculated here is our growing degree numbers for 2012 and 2013.

Growing Degree Days (GDD)
Region
2011*
2012
2013
Nakusp
N/A
935
1074
Arrow Park
N/A
933
1059
Burton
N/A
1029
1139
Needles/Fauquier
N/A
1058
1144

 As a comparison Summerland BC for 2012 was 1333 GDD and 2013 was 1415 GDD.  

We also like to look at the Frost Free Days (FFD).  Frost occurs when the temperature of air falls below the freezing point of water (0 °C). This is usually measured at the height of 1 m above the ground surface. There is a rather subjective scale to show several degrees of frost severity:

·        slight frost: 0 to −2.0 °C
·        moderate frost: −2.1 to −6.5 °C
·        severe frost: −6.6 to −11.5 °C
·        very severe frost: below −11.5 °C

For our purposes we used “slight” frost as our parameter, using 0°C for our last spring frost and -2°C for our first fall frost.  Most grape varieties require approximately 140 FFD,  This was a change from 2012, so again we re-calculated the numbers.

Frost Free Days (FFD)
Region
2011*
2012
2013
Nakusp
N/A
148
170
Arrow Park
N/A
134
165
Burton
N/A
160
175
Needles/Fauquier
N/A
123
162

We also look at a few other parameter in the research plot.  While one year of data is not very representative, it is presented below. 

Location: 107 Burton Main Road
Min

Max

Average
Relative Humidity (%)
17.1
100
77.4
Solar Radiation (Watts/m2)
0.6
1147
157
Wind Speed (m/s)
0.0
4.03
1.2
Wind Direction
0.0
355.2
N/A
Leaf Wetness (%)
0.0
100
31

What doe sit all mean? The numbers for leaf wetness and relative humidity do suggest a wetter climate that could lead to moisture related diseases for some agriculture products (Surprise!).  In absence of wind aided drying, a higher attention to crop management would be required in these cases. 

The numbers for wind speed and wind direction suggest that the research plot is subject to winds that will provide some aid in drying canopies after rains, reducing the spread of moisture related disease or reducing extreme high temperatures and humidity (that is good!)

As very little information on solar radiation is available at this time, it is difficult to assess if the numbers are considered an asset to the growing product. (Stay tuned!)

So there it is.  If there are folks out there who read this and have one of our units on their property and want to see specific data on their site, post a comment back and we can look at getting it to you.

And oh, our Spring Workbee is April 19 at 9:00 AM if you can join us.

Next up: Spring pruning and winter damage.