Precision viticulture is a popular topic in the recent years, although the vast majority of vineyards around the world still don’t practice it. Anyway, those who do, can achieve fairly more consistent quality of their crops, both in terms of spatial variability, as well as in terms of inter-season variability.
What is precision viticulture?
What is precision viticulture, or agriculture, anyway? Usually, the term is used in conjunction with GPS, sensors, and some agronomic research and trials. But in essence, there is a very simple definition: precision agriculture, or precision viticulture, is simply a term describing a set of practices and technologies that answer the following question to the farmer or vintner: What to do, Where and When – to optimally work towards the desired goal.
A desired goal, in this case, can be anything a vintner sets to go after: a certain level of acids and sugars, a certain level of other qualities in grape, a certain level of crop loss, a certain price point. Whatever type of grape you want to achieve, with the help of precision viticulture techniques, you will get closer to it.
Precision viticulture technology helps winegrower answer the question What to do, Where, and When.
In order to answer the question What to do Where and When, information about aspects that affect plant growth is necessary. This information can be a result of processing of raw data which is coming from some data source – such as the sensors. A good example is an irrigation, or pest monitoring: to know when to apply water, or pesticides, one must first know how dry the soil is – or how strong the pest pressure is. This information can be obtained either by manual observations, or with the help of the sensors – such as soil moisture sensors, or weather stations. That way, we addressed the What and When questions, to address inter-season variability.
To address the spatial variability, therefore to manage the vineyard selectively in order to achieve the uniform quality of grapes across the vineyards, another very useful technology is Global Positioning or GPS. With GPS, you can always determine your position, and adjust vineyard management according to the specifics of the vineyard zone in which you are.
Besides all of the sensors and positioning, the organization of work-force is another big area that requires addressing. At eVineyard, we work with customers managing dozens of tractorists across hundreds of hectares, as well as with those that manage only 2 or 3 hectares – so we understand very well how the requirements vary in those areas.
With the help of eVineyard, you can manage your vineyard at a level of precision which works for you, and organize elegantly to do it. No matter if you are just starting to do things more selectively, or you already changed your workflows, eVineyard can be set accordingly to whatever level of precision you want to have. With the desired level of precision, both GPS tracking and Sensor connection of different sensors can be used, to provide you with precise information that you can use to make an informed decision: what to apply, where, and when.
What about you? Are you already using precision viticulture technologies, and why? Let us know in the comment below.
- Read also: Use of technology in the vineyard