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A Busy Year in Paso

by Anji Perry

It has been a busy year in Paso Robles for the Efficient Vineyard teams working in the J. Lohr Creston Vineyard.  It all started this past winter when Kaan Kurtural and his UC Davis crew set up a pruning trial in our hillside Merlot block.  The previous year’s data collection from the CMU Imaging Unit had determined that there were two distinct management zones in this vineyard where crop load and canopy vigor were markedly different.  The team determined that the best way to decrease this block’s variability was to differentially prune the two areas.  Additionally it was determined that this block was under producing, so we are attempting to increase tonnage across both treatments.  In the lower cropping area, 2 6-bud canes were left in addition the normal 2-bud spurs.  In the higher cropping areas, each spur was pruned to 3-buds instead of the standard practice of 2-bud spurs.  Some control vines pruned to the standard practice of 2-Bud spurs are scattered throughout the two treatment blocks.

It is a bit hard to see, but the vines to the right of the pink flag have 2 6-bud spurs in addition to the normal pruning of 2-bud spurs and the vines to the left of the pink flag are pruned with 3-bud spurs.

Scattered throughout this 15 acre vineyard are 32 sites where data is being collected.  These sites are marked with what we call QR codes.  These panels enable the data that is collected with the camera to be georeferenced.  You can also see from this picture that leaves were removed from the fruiting zone.  This will help the imaging camera see more of the fruit.

A few weeks ago, at each of these 32 sites, 3 vines were harvested to get yield components.  In other words, the clusters on three vines were counted, harvested and weighed.  100 berries were pulled from the vines to get current berry weight.  From this point till harvest, 100 berries will be harvested every 10 days to track the development of berry weight.  This data will then be used to help calibrate the data obtained from the CMU sensor that is seen in the picture below photographing the vines.

Tasos (guy with the computer) is doing most of the data collection this year and will complete his Master’s Thesis using this work.  Evan (driver) is his helper.  Both are part of the J. Lohr 2017 intern crew.

The plan is to run the imaging equipment through the vineyard every 2 weeks till harvest.  The amount of data collected by this camera is pretty staggering, about 1 Terabyte.  This is too much data to send via the internet, so disks have to be sent via postal mail.   The data will be processed by the CMU team.

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