Drs. Everard Edwards and Brian Loveys, both from the CSIRO (Cmmonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation) Plant Industry, are studying grapevines in order to predict when the best time is to irrigate grapes.
They want to be able to maximize the quantity and quality of the grapes when they are harvested, while at the same time conserve water when in drought conditions.
So far, their data shows that when higher than normal temperatures prevail, along with lower amounts of available water, the yield to grapes can be reduced by up to 25%.
According to the 12-14-2009 CSIRO press release “Putting vines to the water test,” Dr. Edwards is quoted to have said, “We are observing how severe a water deficit vines can experience and still produce a satisfactory harvest."
Edwards explains, "A water deficit occurs when the amount of water applied is less than what the vine can potentially use."
And, "However, stress may affect yield in subsequent seasons so it is important to examine the time required for recovery after irrigation is resumed.”
The two scientists are specifically researching “stomatal conductance,” which is the measure of the varying amounts of water that a plant can lose through its leaves.
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