Phytech News

Isis Phytomonitoring


January 7, 2004


As the international and domestic wine markets continue to tighten, the emphasis for South Australian wine grape producers is to focus on quality improvements. This aim however, has to be balanced with the other major industry issue - the need to conserve limited water resources.

The current state of play has left many grape growers looking for the answers to help them achieve this twin issue of water and quality.

A new technology that has been extensively used overseas in horticulture and viticulture could provide the answers. Known as phytomonitoring, this new precision agriculture technology is revolutionising the manner in which crops - including wine grapes - are grown.

The phytomonitoring system enables growers to fine-tune their irrigation practices and production efficiency by providing a range of data that comes from plant-sensing techniques, sampling rules, measurement protocols, data interpretation and crop-specific application techniques.

Originally pioneered in Israel by Israeli and Russian scientists, the phytomonitoring system will be fully explained and demonstrated to South Australian grape growers, viticulturists and scientists at a free seminar in the Barossa Valley on the 20th of January, to be held at the Fuller Communications Business & Marketing Centre on Basedow Road in Tanunda from 4-6pm.

Presenting the seminar will be Zohar Ben-ner, a plant scientist with the Phytech company in Israel - the pioneers of this technology - and Sam Plant from Australian company Isis Phytomonitoring.

According to Sam the seminar will be timely for viticulturists and grapegrowers, particularly those either already using or considering the water-saving irrigation technique partial rootzone drying (PRD).

"The water-saving benefits of PRD are well-known, but most importantly this technique also provide significant quality gains. The application of PRD however, needs to be precise, and this is where phytomonitoring provides benefits," Sam said.

"The system acts as a watchdog to make sure any problems with the irrigation control equipment or human error are detected. Because the system is constantly measuring physiological changes in the grapevine, it provides a lot of information to help growers correctly apply PRD."

Sam said the system had been comprehensively trialed in Israel and was now being used around the world by both research agencies and commercial horticulture and viticulture producers. Countries currently using phytomonitoring include Japan, Spain, Chile, China, Netherlands, South Africa and Australia.

"Commercial users have found the system to be pivotal in reducing water and fertiliser use and helps them improve production efficiency and quality. It has also been well-received by scientists who use the tool for comparative examination of different treatments and materials," Sam said.

"Although it is a highly sophisticated system, it is easy to use and cost effective. It is different to other existing systems because it doesn't just measure crop performance but detects and evaluates stress conditions in the crop by measuring a range of physiological data.

"This means it can detect disorders in plants because the data collected warns growers ahead of time of physiological disorders, allowing growers to act quickly to avoid or limit losses to yield and quality."

For further information please contact:  
Sam Plant Sally Raphael
Isis Phytomonitoring Fuller Communications
Mobile: 0427 031 775 Ph: 8363 6811 / 0408 084 031


Place and Role of Phytomonitoring in Viticulture

Free Information Seminar

Presented by: Sam Plant, Isis Phytomonitoring and Zohar Ben-ner, Phytech Ltd (Israel).

When: Tuesday 20th January 2004

Time: 4-6pm

Where: Fuller Communications Business & Marketing Centre, Basedow Road, Tanunda

RSVP: By Monday 19th to Bridget Laucke on (08) 8563 0526 or email

Wine and light refreshments will be served at the conclusion of the seminar.



Back to main news page

Join our mailing list