How NZ Winegrowers use Onside Intelligence to revolutionise biosecurity traceability
See how Onside Intelligence is transforming biosecurity practices for NZ Winegrowers, ensuring identifying high-risk areas, traceability of movements and fostering a culture of biosecurity awareness among wine growers.
New Zealand Winegrowers is the national organisation for the country's grape and wine sector, with over 600 grower members and 700 winery members. Established in March 2002, they are the only unified national winegrowers industry body in the world.
The wine industry in New Zealand is thriving, with a record $2.3 billion in exports, making it the country's fifth-largest export. However, the industry faces significant biosecurity challenges.
Sophie Badland, the Biosecurity & Emergency Response Manager at New Zealand Winegrowers says the top priorities for the industry body include raising awareness of biosecurity threats, and traceability of biosecurity risk movements as an incursion could hinder the industry's ability to meet demand and impact livelihoods of wine growers.
"From a production perspective, to meet high demand, a large number of grapes must be of the right quality for export quality wine. An incursion of a new pest or disease, like BMSB or Pierce's disease, could dramatically affect production, posing a significant challenge for our growers."
One of the common ways unwanted organisms can be transmitted between vineyards is via the extensive use of machinery and equipment, especially those imported from overseas. “Ensuring members are aware and actively checking, cleaning, and inspecting machinery is crucial to add an extra layer of protection.”
Kerrie Hopkins, Biosecurity Advisor for New Zealand Winegrowers, highlights another biosecurity risk, "Machinery and vehicles arriving from other regions during harvest, pose another biosecurity risk when they enter another region."
Sophie underscores the industry's significant challenge of quick traceability due to the large national grape-growing area.
"If you can trace quickly and effectively, that's going to help you get ahead of pests and diseases and give you the best chance of eradication."
They use a vineyard register to record vital information about contact information and biosecurity plans of wine growers. This annual submission is mandatory for wine growers.
"The primary purpose of this register is to enable us to get in touch with members quickly and easily in the event of a biosecurity incursion or emergency response," emphasises Sophie. Similar to biosecurity plans, they are not overly aware of how growers are currently undertaking traceability for the vineyards.
While the register provides basic information, it falls short of offering a comprehensive overview or understanding of the practical application of biosecurity practices in vineyards. There's a noticeable gap in understanding the movement of plants and people across regions.
Both Sophie and Kerrie highlight the overwhelming and impractical cost of time and resources spent on manual tracing processes in the event of a biosecurity incursion.
They recognised that with an easy-to-use tool, like Onside, they could automate on-going movement data collection at individual vineyards and gather accurate and timely traceability insights to inform their response planning.
With real-time movement data collected across vineyards, Onside Intelligence makes it fast and easy to trace potential biosecurity risks in the wine industry.
“Previous to our Onside partnership, we didn’t have any visibility at all of vineyard traceability - it's been managed individually by growers who use a range of methods from paper sign-in sheets to other software providers or electronic records. We had no way of knowing even how many risk movements were happening. So, it's been really educational for us as well to be able to see more sites come on board and see that bigger picture of networked movements growing exponentially,” says Sophie.
Onside eliminates the need for time-consuming calls, site visits, and manual record searches in the event of a biosecurity incursion.
Sophie says, “Having Onside potentially saves several industries and the government time and money in the event of a response, by just having that data accessible immediately through these systems and avoiding the need for manually combing through records, making phone calls, talking to people trying to get them to remember who has visited their site or where else they may have been.”
“It's all just being recorded at the check-in point, so tracing and response becomes so much easier.”
The widespread adoption of the Onside app, powering the network data, is the driving force behind collecting extensive network insights. Wine growers increasingly rely on Onside for check-ins, check-outs, health and safety, and distinguishing visitors from employees.
Sophie envisions the Onside network extending beyond the wine industry, benefiting the entire agriculture sector in New Zealand.
“Some of these pests and diseases don't just affect wine, they're going to affect kiwifruit, apples, and other crops as well. If more industries join, we can create a more extensive network to detect risk movements between sectors, because we have contractors that might be working in grapevines one day and apples the next day. That's going to be really useful in a response situation.”
With Onside Intelligence's traceability dashboards and real-time updates around the movement of people across vineyards, NZ Wine is now equipped with additional tools to inform biosecurity response planning.
Sophie explains the impact of Onside in managing biosecurity can be seen in multiple ways:
Timely eradication of pests and disease. “If a response situation happens, we will be using Onside’s traceability capabilities to get ahead of a potential incursion which gives us a better chance at eradication and saving our vineyards."
Identifying high-risk areas: “With the visual network graphs, we can understand the network dynamics around the types of risk movements that are happening and how frequently they're happening. It can give us a really good idea before a biosecurity situation happens of which properties could be identified as potential risk hubs and could enable us to use them as ‘breaks in the chain’ should a response situation crop up.”
Simulations: “We are looking to use the network data to look at the movement of pests like Brown Marmorated Stink Bug (BMSB) using Onside’s data modelling capabilities in the future.”
For NZ Wine, the impact of Onside extends beyond cost savings.
“We’ve seen positive changes in biosecurity awareness and culture among wine growers since implementing Onside, aligning with industry best practices and recommendations of the industry body,” Sophie says.
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