One of the first outcomes of the AU$ 5 million digital technologies project supporting on-farm decision making for wine grape production is a digital platform that will help grape-growers optimise their irrigation water use.
About the initiative
According to a recent press release, VitiVisor will collect the information directly from the vineyard via cameras and sensors and analyse the large amounts of data produced to assess vineyard performance.
For the first time, it will also offer coordinated advice on management practices such as irrigation, pruning, fertiliser, fungicide and pesticide applications.
Led by the University of Adelaide, the project is a collaboration with Riverland Wine and Wine Australia, with support from the University of South Australia and Primary Industries and Regions SA (PIRSA).
The project is being developed in partnership with Riverland growers but the end product will be open to and usable by all growers.
VitiVisor brings together researchers in viticulture, engineering, remote sensing, farm economics, water accounting, artificial intelligence, machine learning and robotics, with grape-growers possessing deep knowledge of vineyard production and processes from the Riverland wine region.
Who are involved?
The project was initiated under the leadership of the Executive Chair of Riverland Wine.
Motivated growers and advisors from the region were brought together to meet with University researchers for objective-setting workshops with a view to finding ways to reduce production costs.
Wine Australia has helped shape the project and PIRSA is providing project management, ensuring a quick start so the team can collect data this season.
The pilot project conducted last season indicates there is great potential to provide growers with simplified advice on management practices to bring significant improvements to the bottom line.
The project is a key element of Riverland Wine’s strategic plan, which is to transition the industry to the new wine era through building members’ knowledge, rebuilding the brand and influencing industry decisions.
This technology will empower and enable growers to achieve excellence in all aspects of their wine growing and winemaking.
In the vineyard, cameras and sensors will collect data and analyse the performance of a vineyard, for instance, measuring canopy growth, fruit production, sap flow and soil moisture.
This will allow growers to track and predict how key management actions such as application of water, fertiliser and herbicides and various canopy management strategies relate to vineyard outcomes such as fruit yield and quality.
The information will be displayed as a dashboard, giving growers a quick snapshot of what is happening in their vineyards.
They will be able to simply and easily share information about their vineyard performance with their advisors.
Importantly, the vineyard level information will be combined with market and farm cost information to provide guidance on making the best decisions to maximise farm returns.
Technology in viticulture has been evolving at a rapid pace. This provides an integrated approach to developing a single, open-source system that will combine many of these advances to help support decision making for grape-growers all around Australia.
VitiVisor will be an open-source platform, expandable over time, allowing anyone to add new applications.