Digital tools for canopy management to increase competitiveness

Summary

Objective

To develop and implement new features for the VitiCanopy smartphone application, to allow higher processing capabilities, increased flexibility and generation of data for different grapevine densities and training systems.

Background

A previous Wine Australia project (UA 1207) developed a free smartphone and tablet app called VitiCanopy, which enables growers to characterise the canopy architecture and leaf area index of their grapevines. These vine balance measurements are geotagged across a vineyard and can be associated with final yield and grape quality.

Research approach

The VitiCanopy App will be further developed with new modules added to increase flexibility, generate accurate data for different training systems and vine densities and assess pruning weights. An important aim is to provide information about the links between canopy architecture, vine balance and berry/wine non-volatile and volatile chemical composition, sensory attributes and quality for different varieties, training systems and wine regions using machine learning methods.

A web-based software tool (VitiWeb) will be developed to allow batch analysis of multiple images taken in the field and the option of Geographic Information Systems (GIS)-generated maps of vigour and other architectural parameters, allowing users to assess spatial differences in canopies across a vineyard. VitiWeb will also be able to analyse canopy architecture using remote sensing imagery from users, based either on Unmanned Aerial Systems platforms or satellite information.

The link between bud fruitfulness and canopy management will also be investigated to achieve more accurate early yield predictions, through bud dissection, image analysis and machine learning.

The new tools will be validated and delivered to key stakeholders via a benchmarking study across multiple wine regions and industry partners, using vineyards that produce grapes of different grades/quality.

Sector benefits

This project will deliver refined vineyard management practices and tools that will assist the sector to achieve consistent production of high quality grapes and wine. It will provide objective region- and variety-specific information on the best canopy structure to achieve the desired fruit and wine quality.

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