Marty Gallasch is a fourth-generation grape grower who produces premium fruit from his vineyard near Ebenezer in the north of Barossa Valley with the help of precision agtech.
His property spans 60 hectares (ha) with nearly 30ha of predominantly A grade Shiraz and Grenache and another 20ha that will be developed over time. His vines range in age from two-year-old plantings to heritage vines that are more than 100 years old.
Marty says the main challenges for the area have always been climatic.
“We have lower rainfall and limited water supplies compared to many grape growing regions. We also contend with increased frost risks and managing diverse and inconsistent soils.”
To help address this, Marty is working in partnership with Wine Australia’s AgTech adoption program on a range of potential precision agtech solutions.
Just recently, 12 CropX soil moisture probes were installed across his vineyard, and hyperspectral aerial imagery was undertaken to capture and better understand crop health. An Arable Mk2 weather station was also installed on his property.
The aim is to provide Marty and his family with the data they need to make informed decisions about irrigation, fertigation and crop management allowing them to track crop health through to harvest.
“My intention is to use the information and insight gathered from the AgTech program to help me use my resources in the most efficient way,” Marty said of his adoption of precision agtech.
“That may take the form of modified irrigation, nutrition and groundcover management programs or identifying necessary infrastructure upgrades. Time will tell.”
Marty said in a world with increasingly finite resources, the ability to do more with less in a sustainable and consistent manner was important – for any business.
“I am hopeful that the use of tech will allow me to run the business to its potential while also operating responsibly into the future.”
Marty’s message to other growers who may be hesitant to investigate AgTech solutions was to have an open mind.
“Have a look around your vineyard and look at all the indispensable tools, machinery, methods you have. Many of them didn’t exist 20, or even 10 years ago.
“Waiting for tech to become mainstream is not always the most productive way to run a property. And it can cost very little to look into new technology and new ideas.”