Grapes need ‘sunscreen’ in hot Australia
Sydney: Australian wine grape growers are applying kaolin-based clay sunscreen on their crops in a last ditch attempt to save them from the record heat in the southern districts, reports said on Saturday.
They are taking a multifaceted approach to cope with the rising mercury that has been inching closer to the 50 degrees Celsius mark to help their vineyards that have already faced South Australia’s hottest day on record earlier in 2019.
The sunscreen helps “reflect the direct sunlight or UV light … it’s helping limit the extent of berry sunburn and also leaf burn,” wine crop grower Warren Burgess from Langhorne Creek area told ABC news.
“We’re dealing with extreme temperature and it’s having an effect on the vine, not only in terms of decreased yield, but it can have impact on quality,” Burgess told the channel.
“We’ve seen a difference here on our cabernet sauvignon, where we’ve applied the sunscreen product twice,” he said.
Besides the surging mercury, there have been two hailstorms and severe frost that have wiped out parts of the state’s grape crops, Xinhua news agency reported.
Misting fans, soil-wetting products, mushroom mulch and other plant stress management products are also being used to limit weather damage to the crops, the channel reported.