Viticulture

 

Table grapes from Mareeba, QLD

Bio-Tech Organics has worked with grape growers since the company started back in 1993. Many grape growers have certified their vineyards as ‘organic’ as they are generally easy to convert. Certified and allowable products like Twin N, Pyro Ag, Tri-Kelp, Amino Max, Nutri Life Bam, Super Active, OF30 K-silica, FF50 Bio-Humate, Liquid Humus, Fulvic acid and K-Rich are used in these crops. There are other products like liquid fish, liquid kelp, liquid guano, liquid lime etc, that are also allowable. So this helps to cover a lot of areas where soil/mineral balance is concerned.

Organic Grapes

Twin N™ NITROGEN-FIXING BACTERIA

Nitrogen Fixing Bacteria in Viticulture – Now a Real Option

Nitrogen Fixing Bacteria Explained

Nitrogen fixing bacteria are single celled organisms that are essentially miniature urea factories,

turning N2 gas from the atmosphere into plant available amines and ammonium via a specific and

unique enzyme they possess called nitrogenase. Although there are many bacteria in the soil that ‘cycle’ nitrogen from organic material, it is only this small group of specialized nitrogen fixing bacteria that can ‘fix’ atmospheric nitrogen in the soil.

Most growers are familiar with legume nitrogen fixing bacteria called Rhizobium and the colonies they form inside nodules, visible white lumps on the roots of legumes. It is well established that specifically selected, high performance strains of these symbiotic legume bacteria can fix between 50 to 200 units of nitrogen per season, depending on soil moisture. To do this job, these specific strains need to be inoculated into the legume seed to ensure their numbers are high enough to colonize each plant and to bring about a significant influence on the total nitrogen production.

The Plant – Bacteria Communication / Feedback System

N fixing bacteria use plant carbon as a high calorie energy source to fuel the biological reaction that converts N2 gas into plant available N compounds. Whether it be the soil dwelling species or the endophyte N fixing species, the plant is controlling the amount of energy (plant carbon) the N fixing bacteria receive to perform their N fixation function. As such the quantity of nitrogen being fixed for plant use is controlled by the plant itself. For example, when there is limited soil moisture nitrogen fixation slows down, dictated by the plants diminishing nitrogen requirements and subsequent frugal supply of carbon to the bacteria. When soil conditions are optimum, nitrogen fixation is maximized by the plant’s increasing supply of carbon to the bacterial colony, in turn increasing N fixation to meet the increasing nitrogen requirements. It works like a feedback system and assures the plant receives just the right amount of nitrogen it requires based on the growing conditions at the time.

Twin N™ Inoculum – Species Selection and Freeze Drying

To date, the Twin N™ product is the only commercial N fixing Inoculum that can claim high viability and high numbers to achieve reliability. This particular Inoculum has been developed and manufactured to a pharmaceutical standard that guarantees a very high and very stable CFU count. Added to this, the Twin N Inoculum contains some of the world’s most researched and most highly productive nitrogen fixing bacteria species. The species selection criteria is based on quantity of nitrogen able to be fixed by the organism, the suitability to a wide variety of soil types and climates and ability to colonize all plant types.

Twin N™ in Vines – Greatly reduced requirement for liquid Nitrogen

Greatly Reduced Nitrogen Inputs

Twin N™ in Vines – Significant Reduction of liquid Nitrogen- now converted to ‘Organic’

Over the past 10 years one of South Australia’s major wine producers located in the Riverland, has trialed and now incorporated Twin N into their vineyard programs with tremendous success. The area applied being over 300ha.

Angoves ‘Nanya’ vineyard applies Twin N™ to 1000 acres of organic grapes with no loss of yield compared to conventional blocks and basically the same yields (variety to variety) organic vs conventional. The conventional vineyard has been certified ‘organic’ for a few years now after the reduction of applied liquid nitrogen (UAN) of 40 units, down from 50 units of N to just 10 over the first couple of seasons using Twin N. This was a reduction of 80% and contributed huge savings to production, not to mention the reduction of their carbon footprint and benefits to the environment. The whole vineyard now receives just Twin N as the main source of Nitrogen.

Vineyard Manager Nick Bakkum says he is a ‘real fan of Twin N’, having witnessed the results for himself over the last ten seasons, after a small trial in 2008/09 proved successful. “The product is very easy to apply, and we have not seen any loss of yield where we have used it. We have reduced nitrogen applications considerably and both yield, and quality is on par with what we are looking for. I’m very happy with Twin N. We are using the product on a large scale now and not just a small area’, says Nick. In fact, if anyone is considering TwinN for their vineyard he would be only too happy to talk to them about the benefits Angoves has achieved with this product.

Correct application is critical to the inoculation of Twin N through plant root systems, and soil moisture via fertigation is vital to the proliferation of the organisms. Angoves applies adequate irrigation to wet the soil profile a couple of days prior to applying Twin N, where it is then washed down into the root zone upon application. Only 2 CFUs/m2 is required to inoculate the vines. The organism then gradually builds within the vascular system where complete inoculation occurs after 8-10 days. Twin N is applied only once on vines, anywhere between bud-burst and pre-flowering. Ideally, application could be made when vines are actively growing.

Considering its ease of use, reduced carbon footprint (zero, compared to synthetic applied nitrogen), the production of only ammonium nitrogen (no nitrate) and the cost (from $32.00 /ha), Twin N is a game-changer when it comes to nitrogen application in vineyards.

Click on the link below to access our Vineyard Program

Booklet Nutrition farming for vineyards