Spatial Maps and Harvest Data: A Concord Vineyard Example

The goal of the EfficientVineyard project is to identify spatial soil, canopy, and crop patterns in commercial vineyards and develop potential management maps to improve production efficiency and block profitability.  In this example of a 20 acre Concord vineyard, soil EC, canopy NDVI, and fruit yield were collected with mobile sensors while juice soluble solids (Brix) and harvest berry weight were collected manually across the block.  All of the data layers were processed and projected to a common grid so that the data layers could be interrogated for relationships.  In this particular vineyard, there was a strong spatial soil pattern that influenced vine growth, yield, Brix, and berry weight.  Regions of higher soil EC tended to have lower vine growth, lower yield, and lower berry weight – but higher juice soluble solids.  Based on the yield and juice soluble maps and the 2016 processor payment scale, which is based primarily on yield and secondarily on juice soluble solids, a spatial crop value map was generated.  Depending on production costs, which are different for each vineyard operation, the crop value map shows spatially where this vineyard may be making or losing money.  To create a map of potential management classifications, the individual data layers were used in a cluster analysis to identify regions that differ enough viticulturally to prompt differential management.  In this case, the blue region with high soil EC, low canopy growth, and crop yield represents about 20% of the vineyard and, depending on production costs, is likely losing money.  The next step would be to investigate this region further and talk with the grower on a strategy to increase vine size and productivity in that area.  The red region, on the other hand, with lower soil EC, higher vine growth, and yield represents 40% of the vineyard which is producing well.  The grower may want to focus more on crop balance rather than vine size management in that region. by Terry Bates, Ph.D.

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