2018-19 herbicide period saw some new challenges that will be more common in future years.

The effectiveness of herbicides is definitely diminishing and have been for a while.

This season for, a number of reasons, exposed some big problems. We over use herbicides.

A classic example is when we spray and a few weeks later we notice the herbicide has had little effect.

The reaction is to go back over it again therefore just piling on even more chemical (one of the reasons why we are adding to chemical resistance). This reaction is becoming commonplace.

As a winegrowing /horticultural community we need to become mindful of how we manage herbicides. The ideal conditions for applying herbicides are when plants are actively growing, conditions are moist (high humidity), cool temperatures and low wind conditions.

The least favourable conditions are when plants are hardened, water stressed, dusty (dust plays a big part in reducing efficacy), high incidence of bare soil, high ambient temperatures and higher wind conditions.

The difficulty is to find the best time to spray between the ideal and not so ideal to achieve the best results-this can be often tricky.

A composite consideration

Herbicide resistance is the growing problem. Some common herbicides will be deregistered within the next 10-15 years. Now is the time to look at alternatives.

The obvious technique is mechanical under vine weed management. It has a number of benefits. We can enliven our soils by massively reducing chemical load and help reduce resistance to chemicals if and when we need to use them.

The technologies have come a long way and are evolving rapidly with mechanical under vine weeding equipment.

Now is the time to plan your vineyard or horticultural enterprise to enable the introduction of new and evolving weed manage techniques that reduce reliance on soil chemical loading.

Challenging growing conditions resulting from a dryer and windy season. Crops will be lighter compared to last vintage.

Based on dates from last season we predict vintage beginning later in February and run through March, weather permitting. This means planning and preparing now.

Talk with your harvest service providers (both machine and hand harvest contractors) to ensure they are available and have backup plans in case the pressure is on to get your crop booked and grapes off. Remain in constant contact with your buyers so you have forward planning time to organise other logistics such as transport, bulk vessels, pickup units, forklifts and loading sites. It doesn’t take long to harvest vineyards so the more organised the timeline the less the overall cost is incurred.

Pridham Viticulture Vintage services

We are easy people to do business with and provide the following:

Pridham Viticulture is compliant with the following:

Hourly Machine Rates

Pellenc 8090 Selective Harvester
(discount available for large jobs)
  • Transport, setup, wash down (single cost per job)
$330.00/per job
  • Bin trailer pick up (only 1 required)
$110.00/hr (+ transport to site $90/hr, includes driver)
  • Tractor driver only
  • Forklift hire $85/hr or $350 per single shift (plus transport)
G65 Tow behind (includes operator and ground technician) $330.00/hr
  • Transport, setup, wash down (single cost per job)
  • Gondola & Bin trailer pick up (2 required)
$110.00/hr each (+ transport to site $90/hr, includes driver)
  • Tractor driver only
  • Forklift hire $85/hr or $350 per single shift (plus transport)

Any vineyard blocks under 2Ha will attract slightly higher fees due to higher overheads. Price to be negotiated.

Freighting of harvester, allied equipment & support vehicle

To recoup costs freight will be charged @ $160/hr for travel time outside the McLaren Vale region.

Hand harvesting

Our business provides the best services around.

Supervisors and experienced bucket crew $38.00/hr
Hand pickers (compulsory minimum federal based wage) $32.00/hr
Tractor and trailer hire per day (operator extra $35/hr) $325.00/per day

(For hand picking we supply buckets,snips,toilet,water,firstaid, and all associated equipment)

Per tonne picking rates will be based on award rates and average bucket weights while taking into account crop uniformity and site specific details.

Transport to winery and/or forklift quotes will be provided on a per job basis as required. (All the above rates are subject to 10% GST.)

Please note weekend over time rates as per industry awards will apply for any weekend work done. Enquire about coast at time of order.

If you are a Backpacker or a local that is looking for vintage grape picking work in McLaren Vale there are a few basic steps you must take to get registered.

You must contact MADEC on Tel (08) 8188 7500 – Email:

A person will take your details for employment (this usually takes 2 minutes).

You will be given instructions on how the system works.

Do not call Pridham Viticulture we only employ from the MADEC waiting list. They will call you when we need people to pick grapes for Pridham Viticulture.

Reconstruction takes on many forms and is done for many reasons.

You may decide to renovate the vine, trellis, irrigation or remove the lot and start from scratch. The reason is usually your vineyard is producing well below its potential.

Wherever you choose, do your homework. Make the project work on paper first.

Doing it this way you have the opportunity to play out 3 or 4 scenarios to see what suits you or the company you work for.

If you get stuck for ideas get help there’s plenty of people that have experience that would be happy to share their knowledge, all you need to do is ask.

Let's get started, how can we help?

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