Precision Viticulture

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Sustainable viticulture: more yield less cost

The basic concept of sustainable management of the wineries is the production optimization, accompanied by the respect of environmental resources and the increase of the crop profitability level. This can be pursued through the development of productive models that provide for the refinement of the factors employed use, whether environmental (such as proper management of land and water resources) or external source (such as the reduction of plant protection products, fertilizers and soil).

The set of technologies and knowledge that allow you to monitor the responses of plant growth and productive called Precision Agriculture. The goal is to adapt the agronomic management plot on the way of the observed variability. This technology is based on the ability to monitor (in a no destructive way, repeatable and economically inexpensive) cultures with sensors of various kinds and with an accuracy of the data that ensures maximum detail of the information collected.

The ability to capture data from above, using drones, minimizes the impact on the operations of agricultural realities providing fast and accurate information on the problems of crops and their sustainable management. Flight operations are agreed in advance with the customer and optimized on real needs in order to reduce costs. In addition to the sustainability of their farming practices, reducing by 40% the use of non-naturally products, you add then the cheapness of a fast service, practical and effective.

The farm: Guado al Melo

The vineyard of Guado al Melo is located in the area of Bolgheri, in the province of Livorno. The area is surrounded by a beautiful landscape of olive groves and woods that make an area with a Mediterranean climate with mild winters and warm summers with little rainfall. The vineyards are characterized by high plant density (over 8,000 plants per hectare) and a low yield (1kg of grapes per plant). The form of breeding is the “cordone speronato”. The vines are cultivated in the tradition of Bolgheri such as Sangiovese, Cabernet Sauvignon, Petit Verdot and Merlot. The current extension is 27 hectares.

I terreni di Guado al Melo sono rappresentati da due tipologie prevalenti, formatesi coi detriti alluvionali della Fossa di Bolgheri. Il primo è formato da suoli originatisi da vecchie alluvioni stratificate con depositi sabbiosi eolici superficiali, ricchi di scheletro, ben drenati e profondi. Il secondo tipo è costituito da suoli su terrazzi e versanti ondulati, argillo-sabbiosi, con abbondante presenza di scheletro. Questi terreni presentano caratteristiche di bassa fertilità, buon drenaggio ed un’adeguata profondità

Data acquisition on the field

The data acquisition was carried out to a width of approximately 10 ha vineyard, and performed in a few hours without disturbing the maintenance operations of the vines and without the use of road vehicles. Were not used fuel nor stepped on the land adjacent to the vines, in full respect of crops and therefore a view of the principle of environmental sustainability .. The time and manner of relief were agreed in advance with the client, planning the operations in detail in terms of ground resolution, overlapping frames etc. The aircraft is flown by pilots certified in full compliance with the regulations.

Piano di Volo
Piano di Volo

Processing

The aerial survey is then planned and implemented in accordance with the strict rules of aerial photogrammetry, in fully automatic mode. Overflight returns frames and metadata (GPS / INS) mosaicable between them in a precise and repeatable way. The result is a map of high spatial multispectral resolution and radiometry correct on the basis of the incident light. The relief can be repeated on a regular basis or a one-off, customized to the specific needs of the crop. From remotely sensed images are extracted more vegetation indices including Vegetative Vigor.

The first information obtained from the vigor maps is the subdivision of the vineyard in homogeneous areas, in which the plants display similar behaviors. From here you can perform sampling in the field targeted for each homogeneous area. The first result is a proper planning of activities in the field resulting in savings of time and resources. The sampling and remote sensing maps are then only to consider the cognitive tools that require a phase of interpretation of technical agronomist not to remain an end in themselves.

 

Rendering

In the rendering phase starting from the vigour maps and in situ sampling can be extracted the derived maps, representing the vineyard distribution of all major features from sugars, acidity, the anthocyanin content etc. The derived maps return a fully “checkup” of the vineyard. The last step is to translate all the information gathered in agricultural and concrete indications useful for the management of agricultural practices, both manual as triming, thinning, etc (with prescription maps that indicate different intervention strategies) and mechanical (with VRT maps – Variable Rate Technologies which provides guidance in variable dose regimen for agricultural specific machines).

Summary

Adopt precision viticulture practices applied to sustainable development is reflected in giving only what you need, where you need it and when you need it. It is a absolute innovetion not only in the wine scene, but in the entire food industry.

Thematic Maps

By multispectral aerial surveys and samples are obtained thematic maps, direct and indirect. The first one consists of multispectral maps, thermal etc obtained directly from the relief and subsequent postprocessing (geometric and radiometric), the latter include vegetation indices (NDVI etc), derived maps (sugar content, anthocyanins, acidity etc), prescription maps (differential fertilization, thinning etc) and maps VRT (Variable Rate Technology: differentiated phytosanitary treatments etc).

Ripening kinetics

The activity of the grape harvest is well suited to the management of the site-specific vineyard is that manually (or mechanically assisted) or automated. The kinetics of maturation is assessed by identifying targets discriminating the destination of wine grapes and whose show significant variations within the vineyard. Sometimes oenological results can also lead to obtaining wines radically opposed, increasing quality and optimizing production with obvious gains from the grower.

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