The Digital Vineyard: Opportunities for Grape growers in Australia and the World

From: MNSI website.

Wine is one of Australia’s chief exports. Australia is the world’s fifth largest exporter of wine and the seventh largest producer of wine in the world. The wine industry is a significant contributor to the Australian economy. Growing conditions are, however, predicted to change with higher average temperatures, water scarcity and more pressure on land use from a growing population. The result is that wine makers will need to manage resources much more efficiently without comprising wine quality.

In the vineyard of the future, growers will use data from in-ground sensor and drones flying overhead taking multi-spectral images to better manage their crops and the environment within their vineyards. The ground sensor data and aerial imagery can be combined into metrics that growers can easily use to make decisions about growing conditions and when and where to irrigate and apply fertiliser. This is a form of precision agriculture that can target anything from larger blocks within a vineyard to small collections of plants that may need special attention.

This project takes a significant step towards this vision by developing the algorithms and software to acquire, combine, analyse and disseminate data from in-ground sensors and the multi-spectral images taken from drones. In-ground sensors provide a wealth of data about the condition of the soil such as the soil temperature, soil moisture content, salinity, pH levels and some other factors, while drones map valuable metrics for growth, early symptoms of undesirable plant health conditions, and indicators for fruit quality.

The project is developing key elements of sensor network and camera calibration, research and methods for combining the data from the different types of sensors and developing data analysis methods that will provide actionable metrics for growers. Development will focus on designing a standardised optical sensor calibration procedure, automated optical image geo-referencing and ortho-mosaic generation, dissemination and visualisation to end users.

Aerial and ground data will be collected from the Curly Flat vineyard in Lancefield (Victoria), Wynns Coonawara Estate vineyard (Treasury Wine Estates) in South Australia and Murray Valley Winegrowers vineyard in Victoria. The output will be able to produce metrics as well as clear visualisations of the winery overlaid with meaningful data.

Drone images by Teagan Glenane.

RESEARCH TEAM

  • Ed Kazmierczak – Department of Computing and Information Systems
  • Dongryeol Ryu – Department of Infrastructure Engineering
  • Sigfredo Fuentes – Department of Agriculture and Food Systems
  • Richard Collman – V3 Alliance
  • Mark O’Connell – Department of Economic Development, Jobs, Transport and Resources

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