Poster Presentation Science Protecting Plant Health 2017

GrowCare®, a web-tool for Australian fruit-growers to better use weather data in managing foliage diseases, especially downy mildew of grapevines. (#305)

Peter A Magarey 1 , Carla C Magarey 1 , Mike D Western 2 , Justin R Dixon 3 , Eric M Love 1
  1. Magarey Plant Pathology, Loxton, SA, Australia
  2. Western Electronic Design, Loxton, South Australia, Australia
  3. Mapping Services Australia, Berri, SA, Berri, SA, Australia

GrowCare® for fruit-growers, crop-specialists and industry personnel comprises: GrowCare®web ( which provides infection alerts for the weather-driven diseases of different crops; and GrowCare®e-news bulletin e-mailed with timely disease, pest and vineyard management information. GrowCare®web focuses on supplying real-time information on grapevine downy mildew (Plasmopara viticola) primary and secondary infection events and oilspot incubation, and infection alerts for bunch rot (Botrytis cinerea) on flowers and fruit of grapes; rust and brown-rot of almonds and stonefruit; and a degree-day calculator for pests. GrowCare®web provides an ‘easy-to-read, customised’ graph of temperature, relative humidity, rainfall and leafwetness from a grower-nominated local weather station (AWS) network established by regional grape industry associations in South Australia (Riverland, Barossa and Clare Valleys) and in Victoria (Murray Valley). The user can nominate preferred outputs of an infection model (DModel..., PPQ 6(1):29-33, Magarey PA et al. 1991) via disease alerts on the graph, or via automatically-dispatched SMS or e-mail to a mobile device. The progression of each modelled-aspect of disease epidemiology eg the incubation of oilspots, is shown in graph-form, the latter serves as a guide to the optimum time to apply metalaxyl, a post-infection fungicide. An ‘i-frame' allows users to easily switch to/from Bureau of Meteorology forecasts and rainfall radars across Australia to assess optimum times to apply pre-infection fungicides. GrowCare® also provides: season-lists and location maps of disease events; a library of e-News bulletins or scientific and extension papers; and Disease Diagnosis, a web-based, ‘wordless’ guide for identifying symptoms of diseases, insects and disorders in Australian and NZ vineyards.  GrowCare® provides unprecedented precision for Australian grapegrowers to ‘self-manage’ diseases, to produce ‘clean green’ fruit of maximum quality. Being web-based, GrowCare® supersedes previous systems (eg CropWatch® and AusVit®) and, given the demise of plant pathologist ‘disease experts’, is facilitating the dissemination of epidemiological expertise.