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Efficient Vineyard Is Going on the Road

by Tim Weigle

Outreach for the Efficient Vineyard project outside of the original areas participating was undertaken by Dr. Terry Bates’ group when they traveled to Michigan in August 2017.  Working with the local Michigan State University Horticulture educator, Brad Baughman and Dave Miller, assistant professor, Michigan State University, Dr. Bates and his group worked with two growers in four separate variety blocks to scan approximately 40 acres.   After returning from Michigan, the team worked with Hans Walter Peterson, Cornell Finger Lakes Grape Program, to conduct scanning at a local vineyard and provide a grower presentation to spread the word on the potential to implement the technology developed in the Efficient Vineyard project in growers’ vineyards.

As Efficient Vineyard goes into its third year, there is an opportunity for extension programs and growers in grape growing areas that were not originally included in the project to get in on NDVI scanning.  A key component of this outreach is working with local extension educators or consultants.   Getting an NDVI map will provide little information without follow up on identification of why different management units are occurring.  An Efficient Vineyard Grower Participation Agreement outlining what the Lake Erie Regional Grape Program (LERGP) provides and what is expected of the grower can be found at Efficient Vineyard Grower Participation Agreement.

In a nutshell, Efficient Vineyard team members from LERGP will;

  1. Travel to participating vineyard sites to scan the vineyard canopy with Normalized Difference Vegetation Index (NDVI) sensors,
  2. Process the data produced by sensors and deliver NDVI maps to represent variation in canopy within vineyard blocks as a first step toward the development of a zonal management plan.
  3. Work with extension staff, participants, and/or consultants to a develop a sampling protocol to collect pruning weight information that will allow NDVI maps to be converted into pruning weight maps, and
  4. Deliver pruning weight maps during the dormant season.

The participating grower will;

  1. Connect with their local/regional extension staff before scanning to ensure their integration into the project.
  2. Provide a vineyard representative of a commercially manageable unit.
  3. Collect pruning weights in the participating vineyard at locations specified by the LERGP team and submit to LERGP for analysis.
  4. Share management and production economic information with the research team.
  5. Provide access to farm vehicles to mount sensing equipment.

For more information on getting involved in the project, please have your local extension program or consultant contact the team through the Efficient Vineyard Website at: https://www.efficientvineyard.com/contact/

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