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Herbicide Adjuvant Guide

Demonstration Sites

In 2011, SACOA ran demonstration sites to highlight the potential BIOPEST offers for the control of powdery mildew and certain sucking pests in grapes. This year again demonstration sites were organised in different areas.

For further information on the demonstration sites for the 2012/13 vintage, contact SACOA’s viticulture specialist – Robert Hayes on 0488 355 335.

Demonstration sites 2012:

  • Loxton (SA): One hectare of Shiraz was sprayed with Biopest from budburst up until bunch closure with no detectable powdery mildew at Steve Hempel's property.

Shiraz Grapes approching Veraison

Peter Magarey (Consultant Plant Pathologist) and Steve Hempel (Property Owner)
  • Yarra Valley (Vic.): Biopest has been successfully used on this site for the last two years.
  • Griffith (NSW): One hectare of Chardonnay was sprayed with Biopest from budburst up until bunch closure and was harvested in early February with no detectable powdery mildew.
  • Mildura (Vic.): One hectare of Cabernet Sauvignon was sprayed with Biopest from budburst up until bunch closure with no detectable powdery mildew.

Demonstration sites 2011:

Click on the following links to find out more:


BIOPEST - an innovative new product for control of powdery mildew in grapes is now registered and has demonstrated an ability to effectively control powdery under high disease pressure conditions in key grapegrowing areas in Australia.

Developed by SACOA, a progressive Australian company that has refined the use of spray oils and adjuvants in numerous crops, BIOPEST is a highly refined paraffinic oil that is registered for the control of powdery mildew, grapevine scale and mealybugs in grapes, making it an ideal option for growers looking at softer options for use in IPM programs.

Once registration details were finalised, BIOPEST was used in a commercial manner for the first time in the 2010/11 growing season. Demonstration sites were set up in cool, premium regions as well as the warmer, inland growing areas. Despite one of the highest disease pressure seasons for at least 10 years, BIOPEST comfortably controlled powdery mildew in all sites and was at least as good as comparable spray programs based on sulphur or other synthetic chemicals.

BIOPEST is a protectant chemical and needs to be applied at regular intervals – usually every 14-21 days, but closer spacing of sprays may be required if disease pressure is particularly high, as it has been this season. As it relies on inhibiting the development of powdery mildew, good coverage is critical and water rates need to be high enough to get good coverage – ideally starting at about 300l/ha, going up to 750l/ha in cool climate areas and up to 1,200l/ha in large canopies in warm inland regions. It is not possible to use lower water rates and apply a concentration factor, as with some of the synthetic chemicals.


One site that BIOPEST was used last year was in the Yarra Valley in Victoria. This site had suffered from significant powdery mildew pressure in previous years and has actually had fruit rejected the previous years due to powdery. The site is tucked into the side of a hill, has poor air drainage and had a large carryover infestation from last year. BIOPEST was applied at the registered rate of 1%from three weeks after budburst, up until bunch closure which is when registration ceases. Sulphur sprays were applied from this point onward.

The Results

Minor powdery mildew was present at bunch closure, but only 1-2 berries per bunch on less than one percent of bunches. Adjacent vines treated with a conventional program based on sulphur and other synthetic chemicals had significant amounts of powdery mildew.

Above: BIOPEST worst case – 1-2 berries in 100 bunches with powdery mildew

Above: Control Sulphur -  Significant powdery mildew