Experience when it counts

Water is an important controllable component to maintaining production quality, quantity and consistency.  Irrigation solutions enable you to protect your investment, and can also be effectively used as a means of frost protection.

Irrigation Services is New Zealand’s leader in drip and micro-sprinkler irrigation to viticulture, and frost protection systems in vineyards using overhead water sprinklers.  We are pioneers in soils-based design, our first systems matching water application rate to soil type within a vineyard were implemented 20 years ago.

We offer a full project management and turnkey package for projects large or small.  Our innovative, experienced team is highly skilled in all facets of design, supply, installation, commissioning and maintenance.


Design Consideration

Vine irrigation design is determined by three major factors:

  • soils
  • variety/rootstock
  • hydraulic parameters

We pride ourselves on our robust design process and have extensive experience supporting viticulturist in growing top quality grapes.


Our Process

As part of our process we:

  • Determine the specifics of local weather data relating to your vineyard
  • Assess the frost risk from this data
  • Identify the critical temperature of your crop, at which frost damage occurs
  • Maximize existing resources for frost protection
  • Evaluate the volume of water required to protect your fruit per frost

For New Zealand frosts, overhead frost protection is the most reliable solution.

Overhead systems cover the vines and trees with water, which freezes and encapsulate susceptible tissue in ice. Plant tissue is effectively insulated from the severity of the frost by the ice.

We can assess and your frost protection needs, taking into account air movement at the site, sprinkler selection and vitally application rate.


Frost Protection

Frost protection can be achieved using targeted overhead sprinklers.  Overhead systems cover the plant tissue with water, freezing and encapsulate susceptible tissue in ice. Plant tissue is effectively insulated from the severity of the frost by ice.

Under-tree sprinklers can also reduce frost risk; sprinklers on the ground reduce heat loss by radiation from the ground surface, maintaining a higher temperature over the protected area.

Sound engineering, design and installation is critical, with the effectiveness of protection depending on the water application rate and uniformity.  As part of the design process we assess and monitor:

  • air movement
  • sprinkler alignment
  • start-up temperature
  • dew point temperature
  • water volume calculation
  • consider losses due to radiation, convection and evaporation

We have vast frost protection and irrigation experience, particularly in the frost-prone Hawke’s Bay and Central Otago areas. Comprehensive frost research in New Zealand specific conditions was undertaken with the help of The Sustainable Farming Fund by Irrigation Services Ltd, Lincoln Ventures, wine companies and component suppliers from 2004-2007. Irrigation Services designed, installed and managed the trial, and were responsible for data retrieval along the way.

Download the full report in PDF form here: Improving Sprinkler Frost Protection In New Zealand Vineyards Summary Report from 2004-7 Data.



Fertigation is an efficient and effective way to feed crops, saving time and money while improving yields.  Existing irrigation systems can be adapted to enable fertilizers to be delivered through the existing water distribution networks.  This method reduces soil compaction, increases soil carbon levels, provides more control over where and when nutrients are applied, and is an efficient way to apply nutrients.

Microsprinklers and drip systems are particularly well suited to fertigation as nutrients are delivered with the irrigation water, directly to the active root zone of the plants.