This project will refine the methodology involved in analysing the spatial data that underpin precision viticulture so that it can be implemented using freely available software on a standard desktop computer.
A key part of this will be to enable the analysis of spatially distributed (whole of block) experimental methods when experimental response variables (e.g. yield, crop quality) are measured using tools such as yield monitors, remotely sensed imagery or on-the-go sensors of crop attributes.
Adoption of Precision Viticulture (PV) approaches to grapegrowing and winemaking are greatly constrained by perceptions of high cost and a large time requirement for data analysis and management; lack of technical support is also a significant problem. It is highly likely that similar perceptions will constrain adoption of other technologies, which might be inferred by the broader concept of Digital Viticulture (DV) e.g. fruit and canopy sensing, yield estimation, precision irrigation, Big Data).
Several freeware geographic information system (GIS) software programs are now available with advanced functionality that would support most of the spatial analysis tasks employed in PV. This project will select one of these freeware platforms and use it to implement automated tools for the spatial analyses that underpin PV/DV thereby making them accessible to grapegrowers. It will therefore be a key enabler for the development and advancement of DV with respect to issues such as (i) simultaneous yield, crop condition and quality estimation and forecasting, (ii) dynamic canopy, disease and water management, and (iii) experimentation to support targeted management decisions at the within-vineyard scale.
The first part of the project will identify suitable freeware GIS platforms to support the spatial analyses and map display which underpins PV and convert the map production/analysis tools used in CSIRO’s PV research to a format that is implementable on the freeware platform.
The second part of the project is focussed specifically on the complex geostatistical analysis, which underpins spatially distributed experimentation. Again, the objective is to simplify and package the analytical tools so that they are available to non-expert users.
PV / DV has been shown to be potentially highly profitable but it is perceived as expensive, difficult and inadequately provisioned by experts / sources of advice for users. This project aims to remove many of these obstacles and to therefore empower users to make use of these digital technologies and so provide them with opportunities to realise the benefits of PV / DV.
This project is supported by funding from the Australian Government Department of Agriculture and Water Resources as part of its Rural R&D for Profit programme.