Kristin Murdock, Naracoorte Community News
Biosecurity is a buzzword in the agricultural industry, now more than ever with the recent threat of foot and mouth disease and an infestation of varroa mite affecting bees in New South Wales.
Vineyards are just as vulnerable to risks and with that in mind, Willo Brown from Oparina Wines in Padthaway has put his university IT skills to good use creating an app called myVineyard.
“We are a family-based vineyard,” Willo says. “And this app can track everyone coming onto the property. The idea came about as we prepared to do the Sustainable Wine audit. We found that the paper system we previously used for tracking visitors, just wasn’t working.
Sustainable Wine mentioned they wanted all growers to focus on tracking everyone coming in and out of their property, yet when asked if they had a better solution then pieces of paper in a shed, they had none.
Instead, we thought that with my background in IT we could create something digital and use that instead. From there we created a prototype and tested it throughout vintage, receiving great feedback and then decided to adjust so other people could use our product as well.”
To perfect the app’s content, the Brown’s worked with contractors, other farmers and agronomists to create ideas and build a system that is easy to use, fast and convenient for farmers.
The app works by scanning QR codes which can be signposted at all vineyard entrances. Visitors can then quickly and easily fill in their details on an electronic form before being granted access to the property. Once submitted, a hazards and procedures page appears notifying of any possible dangers and hazards present, along with a site plan, meaning necessary OHW & S issues and information is readily available.
“Managers are notified upon each arrival into the vineyard. All data is stored securely and is accessible via the myVineyard website. Each vineyard is given their own private portal where they can view their relevant information,” Willo says. “Pests like phylloxera and weeds such as caltrop and Innocent weed can be devastating to our industry if not contained, so if more measures like this app are adopted it can really help boost our industry by preventing the spread.
If an outbreak does occur, systems like myVineyard can help with tracing the outbreak source and prevent further occurrences. Audits are very time consuming and not enjoyable. So, we are working on ways to help farmers reduce the time spent writing things down and searching for information needed for the process.”
Downloading a full year’s worth of data can be done with the click of a button which produces a full report to keep or submit to Sustainable Wine Australia.
“Keeping track of everyone going in and out of your vineyard and understanding where they and their vehicles have been is very important,” Willo says.
“We plan to fully build out this app over the next year or two and add in new features to make managing a vineyard easier and allowing owners more time to get out and farm. With current worries about diseases such as foot and mouth disease, systems like ours could be adapted to other industries in the future.”
This article appeared in the Naracoorte Community News.