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Estimate the growth of vines using a system that measures infrared radiation emision

Elhuyar Fundazioa

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IMAGE: Neiker-Tecnalia estimates the growth of vines using an innovative system that measures their infrared radiation emission view more

Credit: Neiker-Tecnalia

This news release is available in Spanish.

Obtaining detailed maps on vegetative growth is essential for wineries and so is the knowledge about the reasons for these differences in vigour; and soil properties constitute one of these reasons. The study was conducted at a vineyard located in Gernika (Bizkaia) and owned by Bodegas Itsasmendi as part of a project on agricultural innovation funded through the Berriker call of the Department for Economic Development and Competitiveness of the Government of the Basque Autonomous Community. The conclusions will provide the winery located in Bizkaia with detailed knowledge about its plantation, as well as other benefits. This information is very important when certain decisive processes take place, such as the selecting of the grapes that will form part of the various wines that are produced.

To carry out the research, the Neiker-Tecnalia specialists used a multispectral camera and took measurements all over the plot of land in the study. The equipment picks up the electromagnetic bands that the vines reflect in the near infrared and red and, by means of a formula, estimates the state of the plant. Using the data obtained, the technicians produced a "vigour map" of the plot of land being studied and specified three differentiated areas according to the NDVI.

The next step in the research consisted of looking to see whether there were any differences in terms of yield and quality in the three areas that had been specified. That way, it was possible to verify that the vines in the area identified by the NDVI as displaying the greatest vigour obtained a yield of 40% higher than those in the area of least vigour. As regards quality, the grapes in the area of higher vegetative growth were found to produce a must with increased acidity and lower quality. It was also verified that the area of greatest vigour produced a larger quantity of wood prunings.

These differences in terms of vegetation, production and quality are largely determined by the soil properties, above all in this case in which the plant material, the climate and agronomic practices are similar across the whole plot of land. So when studying the soil it is possible to appreciate that the area of greatest vigour is the one that has better soil aeration and therefore allows greater root development and, as a result, better vegetative development especially during the years in which rainfall is high.

The results obtained highlight the effectiveness of the NDVI as a means of measuring vine growth. Thanks to the research conducted by Neiker-Tecnalia, the winery now has more knowledge about its vineyard in terms of the plants and the soil in which they are established. This will help it to make wiser decisions in terms of agronomic practices, and also to classify the grapes into different qualities in a more reasoned, effective way.

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