This project will develop a Pesticide Adjusted for the Canopy Environment (PACE) system that will allow Australian vineyards to use LiDAR sensors on a ground-based vehicle for sensing the grapevine canopy, allowing a spray unit to be turned on or off in response to the presence or absence of canopy.
The ability of vehicle-mounted LiDAR and associated sensors to turn spraying equipment on/off to more closely adjust dose rates to canopy area can potentially realise savings in the order of 10 – 20 per cent of the application volume. Agrichemical savings through correct dose adjustment have amounted to millions of dollars in similar studies in the UK.
Avoidance of issues such as off-target drift offers significant benefits, by minimising chemical exposure to humans and the environment. Appropriate dosing also helps to avoid chemical resistance issues, while ensuring excellent pest and disease control.
The system to be developed will support optimised spraying using appropriate dose rates and pruning decisions.
PACE is ideal for Australian vineyards and will complement the dosing model component of AGWA project UQ 1201.
This research will develop and validate a vineyard version of PACE, working closely with vineyards in Queensland and South Australia.
A collaboration with the US Department of Agriculture will investigate reflective signals indicative of canopy structure.
These sensors will be mounted on tractors adjacent to the LiDAR to collect data on the canopy.
The team will also work with Techtonica Australia to develop appropriate robotic platforms.
Being able to adjust dose rates to suit individual canopies has the potential to reduce the total volume of chemical used by 20 per cent. This has direct financial benefits for growers.
In addition, improved practices that reduce chemical usage will minimise chemical resistance issues, and maintain and uphold consumer confidence in Australian grape and wine products.
This project is supported by funding from the Australian Government Department of Agriculture, Water and the Environment as part of its Rural R&D for Profit programme.