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Image system supporting De Bortoli site management in Yarra Valley

RD&A News | August 2022
26 Aug 2022
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The Yarra Valley is arguably one of the more challenging regions for viticulture in the country due to high disease pressure in spring and inconsistent fruit set from cooler temperatures at flowering. Further impacts can occur post-Christmas due to extreme heat events in some years. Additional to these seasonal fluctuations, a number of vineyards in the region actively manage the impact of trunk disease or phylloxera infestation. Monitoring the rate and spread of disease throughout vineyards is critical for the on-going management of these vineyards.

De Bortoli’s Rob Sutherland has been a viticulturist in the region for more than 18 years and manages 240 hectares of vines consisting of predominantly Pinot Noir and Chardonnay across three sites.

To help overcome the challenge of variability, Rob and his technical assistant Emma Taylor started trialling the Bitwise Agronomy Greenview camera system.

The system utilises off-the-shelf cameras which are mounted to vineyard equipment, so the process of capturing imagery is simple and repeatable. Greenview provides interactive dashboards and a forecasting tool built on large amounts of annotated field counts  – from 12 months across 43.5 hectares of vines. 

The Greenview AI platform is generally used to quantify variability.

“There are a number of points during the season when growers benefit from collecting data,” said Dr Fiona Kerslake, Head of Agronomy for Bitwise.  

“After pruning, counting vines and nodes with Greenview and mapping this data out provides growers with their first point of estimating potential yield and also understanding their variability starting point for the season.  This early season estimation can benefit growers as an early indicator of the need to buy and/or sell fruit.”

Dr Kerslake said throughout the season, canopy growth can be monitored with Greenview as an indicator of issues in the vineyard, ranging from phylloxera infestations to trunk disease infections to irrigation issues.  

“There are tactical in-season decisions which can be made with this data as well as longer term planning decisions, such as replanting all or parts of blocks.”

For Rob and the De Bortoli team, the most beneficial outcome of using the Bitwise technology has been assessing the canopy growth of blocks that are in decline due to phylloxera infestation. 

“Mapping of weak patches has given our team the best information when compared to other previously used methods,” he said. 

“The other virtue of Bitwise is the vine missing count. We have found this to be very accurate and comparable to physically counting missing vines each block.”

To find out more about GreenView head to 

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This content is restricted to wine exporters and levy-payers. Some reports are available for purchase to non-levy payers/exporters.