What’s Been Going On?

Oh, the summer night,
Has a smile of light,
And she sits on a sapphire throne.
― Bryan Procter ―

So, it’s been a few weeks! 

I hope the season has been treating you well. I know many of you have been catching up on a bit of vacation before harvest. Tasting rooms have been busy and, even with a wet spring, it looks like we’ll have a good year. 

And, well, we’ve been busy!

First of all, I’ve been teaching a course on irrigation at Okanagan College. I’ve been telling anyone that will listen that I am to be addressed only as Professor Mark or “The Prof” (if you’re more informal) from now on. 

Uptake has been slow. 

It’s been a lot of fun. Amy Richards taught the previous two courses on IPM and canopy development (I have no idea how she did that) and her point was that you learn so much by teaching. No kidding! There’s nothing like having to put pen to paper in a rigorous manner. Maybe it’s like writing a book? 

 I also participated in an SWBC Workshop on Water Efficiency with Amy and Andrew Moon. Once that recording is up I’ll share it here. 

One of the things I’ve really learned about irrigation through our own work, teaching the course, and the workshop, is that there is a large gap in some areas where we have an abundance of settled science, and where there are still large gaps in practice. I’m excited as we share more about that here in the coming weeks. 

As well, I was recently quoted in Orchard and Vines, again along with Amy Richards, about the value of digging soil pits

It’s a big positive to me to keep following up someone of Amy’s caliber and knowledge – she’s an incredible boon to our industry and if we’re working on things she clearly believes are important, I feel like we might be on to something. 

The last major thing we’ve been working on, aside from my adorable baby and all our regular digging and consulting and drone flying and soil mapping, was working on our big precision irrigation project.

We’ll be sharing more on this in the coming weeks, months (and hopefully years). The ultimate goal is to provide hyper-practical, low-demand irrigation information backed by the best science – but requiring as little time and investment from vineyards as possible.

We see very consistent data that precision irrigation reduces water use by 30 – 50%+ (I’m talking both scientific research and anecdotal data). The challenge is implementation, trust, and ease-of-use. 

We’ll be testing our system in two Okanagan vineyards over the coming years and can’t wait to see (and share) the results.  


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