THE opening in September of a new laboratory under the Commonwealth Council for Scientific and Industrial Research at Merbein, Victoria, is an indication of the store now set by viticulturists on the provision of scientific services for their guidance. Merbein is in the Mildura district on the River Murray, where the first irrigation settlements were established some fifty years ago. Marked changes have taken place of late in horticultural practices in these areas, following particularly upon studies of soils with consequent modification of quantity and frequency of watering, and upon introduction of communal drainage schemes. The former danger of ruin of blocks by 'salting', or bringing sodium sulphate and chloride and other salts to the surface by excessive watering and insufficient drainage, is almost a thing of the past. The Council is now preparing plans for a further new laboratory at its citricultural research station at Griffith, N.S.W., in an area watered from the Burrinjuck Dam on the Murrumbidgee River.