The VVA held its annual Summer Technical Meeting and Summer Social on June 14th and 15th. The event was hosted by Dr. Tony Wolf and his team at the Alison H. Smith, Jr. Agricultural Research and Extension Center in Winchester VA. The weather was great and the research center was the perfect venue. Set against the back drop of the gorgeous Frederick County countryside, the two day event was filled with timely information regarding canopy management and spray technologies.
The Thursday session focused on canopy management and included presentations by Alan Lasko from Cornell University, Fritz Westover from Texas AgriLife Extension Service and Tony Wolf from Virgina Tech. Alan Lasko’s presentation focused on goals and principals of vine and crop balance while Fritz Westover discussed key consideration in vineyard establishment to achieve vine balance. Mizuho Nita then presented a seasonal disease update. Finally, Tony Wolf’s presentation focused on canopy assessment and remedial actions to achieve vine balance in an established vineyard. The presentations were followed by in field interactive demonstrations of canopy assessment where attendees were able to perform quantitative assessments such as counting leaf layers using a point quadrant and determining the ratio of leaf area to fruit mass.
After the technical sessions on Thursday, the group was able to unwind at the annual Summer Social. Members enjoyed a meal of kabobs and orzo salad paired with several examples of Virginia’s finest wines. All while listening to Blue Grass music performed by VVA member Turtle Zwadlo who joined Charlottesville band Tara Mills With Strings Attached.
Friday’s session was a day long spray technology presentation by Andrew Landers of Cornell University and included both grape and tree-fruit growers. Andrew provided a wealth of information on improving spray deposition, reducing drift and sprayer calibration. The day ended with a ‘spray off’ from several sprayer manufactures including John Bean/Durand-Wayland, Jatco, Cima, and Hardy. While there was no clear winner, all the machines performed well and the demonstration proved that anyone shopping for a new sprayer should be able to find the perfect machine to fit their site. Those who have seen Andrew speak know that his presentations are as entertaining as they are was informative and we look forward to hosting him again soon.
It was a great couple of days and our thanks go out to Tony Wolf and his amazing team for putting the whole thing together with no small effort from our own Katie Meeks. Our thanks also go out to Jordan Springs, Schaffer’s Catering, and South Street Grille for providing the delicious meals. Last but certainly not least, a big thank you to BDI Machinery, CBC Industries, DowAgrow Sciences, Hardi North America, Mackenzie Ag Consulting, Scott Labs, VDACS-Office of Pesticide Services, and Winchester Equipment Inc. who turned out to demonstrate their products and support the event. We couldn’t have done it with out you!
Tom Kelly, Rappahannock Cellars