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Benny Cimino grows export quality red and black table grapes with his brothers George and Paul in the Riverina region of NSW.  For the Cimino family the focus is on export markets, as the return for quality product is much higher than the domestic market.

Benny has been a BioAg customer for a number of years, devising his own fertility programs with advice from BioAg agronomists and other experts. Ultimately though, his programs are his own and he keeps the details close to his chest, like a secret recipe for success.

Benny’s approach to decisions about inputs is informed by clear business goals, combined with his deep knowledge of the vineyard. He and his brothers Paul and George have been growing table grapes for over 40 years. As he walks between rows of vines, he is constantly bending down to check colour, count bunches, taste for sugars and observe the progress towards harvest.

BioAg products play specific roles in the Cimino table grape fertility program.

  • Soil & Seed is applied three times annually, to build resilience in the vines so that they are able to deal with the abiotic stresses that are prevalent in the region – particularly heat and moisture stresses. Application rates are 8 litres/ha for the first application and 3 litres/ha for the following two applications.
  • Fruit & Balance is applied as a foliar three times at 2 litres/ha for each application. Applied first at veraison, when colour starts to appear and the fruit starts to soften, the following two applications occur as required, with the final application this season around one to two weeks before harvest.

‘It depends on the stresses, on the year, on what the vines need,’ says Cimino.  ‘I use Soil & Seed every year, then as the fruit matures I keep an eye on the vines and the fruit and when it’s time to give them a bit of a tickle along, I apply Fruit & Balance.’

Grape vines withe good crop of red table grapes
Crimson is a high-yielding variety and an even ripening means fewer passes required to harvest the full crop.

The goal: early, efficient harvest

Varieties such as the popular Midnight Beauty and Rally are able to be harvested in two passes. The progression of their ripening allows approximately 80% to be harvested in the first pass, with the remaining 20% harvested in the second pass.

The Ciminos also grow the high yielding Crimson red grape. Its exceptional yields are countered by the variety’s tendency to ripen more slowly and unevenly.  The Cimino brothers have found that these grapes ripen later in the season and harvesting can require three or even four passes.

Why Fruit & Balance?

To maximise the value of the crop, Benny and his brothers aim to get their Crimson variety grapes to market early, and harvest in just two passes. By orchestrating a more even, ripening progress, they hope to harvest 60-70% in the first pass and the remaining 30-40% shortly after. 

They are seeing that the application of Fruit & Balance evens out the ripening of Crimsons. Harvesting has begun and the evenness of colour and sugar indicates that a two-pass harvest is on the cards this season.

This will reduce picking costs and maximise profits as more of the harvest goes to market earlier while prices are high.

red table grapes on vine
An even, consistent ripening pattern in Crimson variety table grapes

To find out more about how BioAg liquid biostimulants and foliars can build resilience and help your fruit ripen, talk to a BioAg agronomist  about a program for your orchard or vineyard.

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