Further developments in precision viticulture and the use of spatial information in Australian vineyards

This article is an edited version of a paper presented at the 15th Romeo Bragato Conference, Hawke’s Bay, New Zealand (20-22 August 2009), and published in the subsequent proceedings.

By Tony Proffitt and Rob Bramley

 Following the introduction of precision viticulture (PV) technologies to the Australian wine industry in the late 1990s, and associated research during the subsequent years, an increasing number of grape and wine producers are recognising the value of understanding the inherent biophysical characteristics and performance of their vineyards for improved viticultural management and decision-making.

By definition, PV is viewed as a continuous cyclical process of observation, evaluation and interpretation leading to the implementation of a targeted management plan, followed by further observation and refinement of the management plan if required. The rationale behind this process is that through the use of spatial information, any given viticulture decision has an increased likelihood of delivering the desired or expected outcome compared with a similar decision made in the absence of such information.

However, it is important to realise that the use of spatial information alone also provides an opportunity to improve viticultural knowledge and management decision-making. Whilst this is not strictly PV-related, the use of spatial information in this way should be highlighted as the data is often acquired using the same technologies.

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