Vineyard Equipment: Technology

Software and hardware improvements best made between Oct and Mar.

Vineyard scouting

  • PDA: $300, Windows Mobile with version compatible with your database. Additions to buy: aluminum case, extended life battery, plastic screen protector, memory card. Additional setup: backup plan, a way to save db file on memory card, client version of db
  • GPS: $100, needs WAAS connection, 5 meter accuracy.
  • GIS: $300, Manifold GIS, puts your GPS coordinates on a map. Additions to setup: requires GIS training and other data to overlay such as soil maps (free), aerial photos (free), Calibrated NDVI Vine Canopy Density: ($14/acre) geographical coordinates need to be included. The combined data reveal differences in soil, disease, or cultural practice. Without calibration the colors in a single photo are relative to one another. With calibration, the colors are adjusted so changes can be observed from year to year. There are some variable rate technology applications that can use this data in the mechanization of vineyards, but so far it’s only popular in Australia and for large operations.
  • Porometer: (optional), measures stomatal conductance or an indicator if vines highly stressed which sometimes pressure bomb readings can miss. (70-400 is the typical range for one of the measurement units**)


Vineyard Database software
Most likely the database is whatever the operation already has. However, if shopping for a new system: Additional items to set up and cost out: customize PDA, customize db.

    Used for Data mining:
    Spray records for filing with state, Bloom date for CS compared to last year, Estimated harvest date, Tissue N increasing of decreasing, Maintenance costs too high time to replace equipment, Weather trends, yield trends
    Viticultural data: (varieties, rootstocks, block boundaries, phenological events (bud break, bloom, fruit set, veraison, harvest), maintenance issues (irrigation lines), material applications (spray, fert, irrig time, amt, location), viticultural obsrvtns (disease outbreaks, insect counts, vine water status, grape maturity assessments time, amt, location), sampling (petiole nutrients), weather. Business data: (labor tracking, payroll, accounting, equipment)

Further reading and relevant comparison chart:
Greenspan, Mark. Technologies that put Vineyard Information at your Fingertips

* NDVI = (IR – Visible Red)/(IR + Visible Red) describes density of vegetation. Used to map vigor, determine which blocks for petiole sampling, pressure bomb analysis, pulling leaves, or picking fruit. Also used to monitor pest extent and changes, or where to retrofit irrigation system. A sample photo showed vigor from submain lines (leaky valves), drainage, reservoir area. Also can show weakness due to salt extrusion in area.

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