Multi-state Grape Field Day

Paul Domoto, Professor & state specialist for fruit crops, Horticulture


Since 2000, the Iowa grape industry has dramatically increased from less than 30 acres on 22 farms to over 500 acres on over 230 farms.  Much of this growth has been on small acreages with the growers having little farm experience or knowledge on growing grapes.  As these plantings are coming into production, these new growers have encountered problems in effectively controlling diseases and insects that attack grapes.  As a result, much of the crop has either been destroyed or rejected by the local wineries.  In many situations the proper pesticides have been used, but were either not applied at the proper rate, or the spraying system did not effectively deliver the pesticide to the target. 


Educate grape growers in western Iowa and neighboring states on selecting and calibrating vineyard sprayers for controlling insects and diseases.


In conjunction with the University of Nebraska extension and the Golden Hills RC&D, a multi-state grape field day was planned and held at the Iowa State University (ISU) Armstrong Research & Demonstration Farm, Lewis, IA.  The program included a tour of the grape research plots at the farm, a demonstration of several air-blast sprayers designed for vineyards, a presentation on how to properly calibrate air-blast sprayers for vineyards using the row-volume approach, and a discussion led by research and extension faculty from Nebraska, Missouri, South Dakota and Iowa on grape culture issues. 


Over 80 grape growers from Iowa, Nebraska, Missouri, Kansas, South Dakota and Minnesota attended the field day and had the opportunity to observe and compare how each of the air-blast sprayers operated under field conditions.  With an investment in such a spraying system ranging from $3,500 to over $9,000, it is critical that growers be able to see them in operation before making such an investment.  Also, with a potential yield of over three tons of grapes per acre and return of $1,000 per ton, it is critical that growers develop and maintain an effective pest control program based on a sprayer that best meets their needs and is properly calibrated.  Because the vine canopy changes during the growing season, growers can save on the amount of pesticide being applied early in the growing season by using the row-volume approach to calibrating a sprayer.



Page last updated: July 8, 2006
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