By Tim Weigle
As “Efficient Vineyard”, a Specialty Crop Research Initiative project funded by USDA/NIFA, moves toward the end of its third year, there is some great research information to dispense to growers and members of the grape industry across the United States. One of the objectives of this project is to provide access to project information to grape growers and members of the various grape industries across the United States. To get the word out, a monthly webinar series, A Hitchhiker’s Guide to Precision Viticulture, is being produced and delivered on the second Tuesday of every month with Jackie Dresser, CLEREL and Kevin Martin, LERGP Extension, team up to walk growers, extension specialists, consultants and members of the grape industry through the ins and outs of precision viticulture. Participants of the webinar series will start by learning the science behind precision viticulture and continue each month, working towards an understanding of the nuts and bolts of implementing variable rate management in a vineyard.
The webinar series started on June 12, 2018 with a webinar providing background and scope for the rest of the webinar series and on how applying precision viticulture can take the guess work out of vineyard management. Economics of how investing in precision viticulture can increase profitability can increase profits was also covered. Economics is a key factor in the decision to adopt precision viticulture practices and will be a discussion point in each webinar in the series. Soil was the focus of the July webinar “Looking Deeper; a subsurface vineyard exploration” where Jackie discussed the role of soil in nutrient and water availability and how precision viticulture can help growers adapt some cultural practices to a specific soil environment. The latest webinar, “Does your photosynthetic engine need a tune up?” looks at how to maximize the photosynthetic efficiency of the grape canopy, and how sensors collect the data to provide growers information on vine size variability within a vineyard.
Participation in the webinar series is available, free of charge, to anyone interested in precision viticulture. To participate, just register for the webinars on the Efficient Vineyard website. To ensure participants don’t forget, a reminder email is sent the day before the webinar. The best way to view the webinar is to participate live as there is the opportunity to interact with presenters and fellow participants during a chat time prior to the start of the webinar and to ask questions of the presenters during the question and answer period at the end. However, for those who are unable to attend, each webinar is recorded and can be accessed at any time on the Efficient Vineyard website. Webinar registration and viewing of previous webinars can be accomplished by clicking on the Webinar Info button.