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Vine nutrition


Summary

Objective

To develop a diagnostic tool for the rapid and accurate assessment of grapevine nutritional status in the field.

Background

Nutrition is a costly and important part of managing a vineyard, impacting on vine growth, crop yield, berry composition and - ultimately - must and wine quality. Nutritional requirements must tailor to a range of variables including grape variety, rootstock, vine age, soil type and properties, water and irrigation supply, production and wine quality expectations, and management history. Plant petiole testing is currently the preferred method in Australia for monitoring the nutritional health of vines, but the results can take time to generate, the accuracy is dependent on the sampling protocol, and standards may not apply in all cases.

Research approach

A smartphone app will be developed to capture and analyse images of vine leaves, to rapidly assess nutritional status. Using this tool, vineyard managers and growers will be able to take a photo of a leaf with a smartphone, and through customised machine learning and computer vision techniques, make an assessment of nutrient deficiency/toxicity. The GPS function of the smartphone will be used to geo-tag the location of the selected vines, allowing tracking of seasonal changes in nutrient status, and the creation of an historical database. The project will also generate a diagnostic key and an image library (from published sources) showing symptomatic leaves for various nutrient disorders, to assist growers in making in-field assessments. The feasibility of using a mini-spectrometer for nutrient assessment in real time will be evaluated against traditional petiole analyses, and the current tissue sampling protocol for vine macro and micronutrient status will be refined.

Sector benefits

Enhanced efficiency in vineyard management, through optimised fertiliser application and faster, more accurate identification of nutrient deficiencies in growing vines.