Outreach and Adoption – Moving Efficient Vineyard Practices to Grower Vineyards

by Tim Weigle As the second full year of the Efficient Vineyard SCRI project comes to completion, it is interesting to examine the tools developed, and their use, to move project information into grower vineyards.  The most obvious tool is the project website found at https://efficientvineyard.com that provides access to current research articles, bios, interviews and contact information for project participants (broken down by team), general outreach information on the project as well as blog posts, project publications, photos, and general resources found in the dropdown menu under News.  Since the start of the project, 11 current research articles and 26 blog posts have been posted.  Current research articles provide project team members the chance to provide in-depth information on their portion of the project and are posted every other month.  The Efficient Vineyard blog posts have more of a “what’s happening now” spin and are posted on a bi-weekly basis.

The initial survey of growers and project participants helped the Outreach and Adoption team determine the preferred methods of information transfer with these groups and it was not surprising that face to face interactions and meetings were found on this list.  In California team members have been actively presenting to 1,168 total participants at 6 large grower meetings.  Members of the Lake Erie grape industry in New York and Pennsylvania were able to access information on the Efficient Vineyard project through 18 “Coffee Pot” meetings, small group meetings held weekly during the growing season at grower venues across the Lake Erie growing region.  In addition, the Efficient Vineyard project was highlighted with half-day sessions at both the Summer and Winter Growers conference of the Lake Erie Regional Grape Program.

Growers in the Lake Erie region were also given the chance for face-to face interaction by volunteering to participate in the loaner sensor portion of the project.  Five growers scanned approximately 508 acres by simply driving through their vineyards completing normal vineyard practices such as spraying or mowing.  A program technician assembled the sensors on their equipment, and when the grower was finished, collected the sensors and data card which allowed Rhiann Jakubowski, a member of the project oversight group, to produce maps to help growers develop management zones.  NDVI scans have also been made in vineyards participating in a grape rootworm project to help identify problem areas and focus scouting efforts.  As shown in the figure below, the NDVI scans indicated that the area affected by grape rootworm feeding has decreased with as little as one year of management practices aimed at the pest.  The red and orange areas of the photo are lower vigor areas (caused by grape rootworm feeding on the vines root system).  Green and blue areas indicate areas of highest vine vigor with yellow areas indicating moderate vine size.  Without pruning weights to calibrate the maps, these NDVI scans only provide participants a relative vine size rating of lower, higher and moderate vine size.