Precision viticulture (PV) has been mainly applied at the field level, for which the ability of high resolution data to match within-field variability has been already shown. However, the interest of PV for grape growers would be greater if its principles could also apply at a larger scale, as most growers still focus their management on a multi-field scale, not considering each field as an isolated unit. The aim of this study was to analyse whether it is possible and relevant to use PV tools to define meaningful management zones at the whole-vineyard scale. The study was carried out on a 90-ha vineyard made of 27 contiguous fields. The spatial variability of vine vigour, estimated with the Normalized Difference Vegetation Index (NDVI), was analysed at within-field and whole-vineyard scales. The spatial variability of the vigour was significant and spatially organized whatever the considered scale. Besides, vineyard spatial variability was characterised using information on environmental factors (soil apparent conductivity and elevation) and vine response (yield, vigour and grape composition). At both scales, NDVI and measured environmental factors were used to establish a three-level classification, whose agronomic significance was tested comparing the vine response observed for each class. The analysis of high resolution information allowed the definition of classes with agronomic and oenological implications, although there was not a straightforward correspondence between the classes defined and quality. Analysing the variability at the whole-vineyard scale highlighted a trend of spatial variation associated to elevation that was hardly visible at the within-field level.
Precision Agriculture – Springer Journals
Published: May 22, 2012
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