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Trolling the internet for months now, I’ve come across a few excellent GIS portal sites to help with precision viticulture. I rejoice in the fact that some governments have an open policy stance on GIS data, and appeal for those who don’t to change their policies…

Utilizing the hundreds of available layers in GIS and applying them to planning is vital for the Viticulturist of the future – NOW. Planting is the most expensive and permanent decision any wine farmer has to make and helping these guys make better decisions is up to us as viticulturists.

Planning with regards to slope, aspect, rainfall, possible erosion patterns, row direction, solar radiation – with an effect on wine style and grape yield, the best suited rootstock, cold units for dormancy, maximum temperatures during ripening, these are just some of the factors a viticulturist has to keep in mind when giving advice.

South Africa probably has one of the best, most accessible agriculture geoportals  in the world (there might be many that I haven’t discovered yet) , but with the limiting factor that data isn’t free to download.

Click here to view Cape Farm Mapper

New Zealand has amazing geoportals, and viticulturists in New Zealand don’t know how lucky they are! The portals have literally thousands of downloadable layers and geodatabasis, ready for use for the techno savvy viticulturist.

Spain and America too have excellent portals, it’s just a pity I can’t read Spanish…

I think it is a challenge for governments to update these data portals more regularly and add more data, especially higher resolution images and in particular infrared and NDVI images. This is not only a bunch of pretty pictures, but gives consultants and farmers the tools to farm more efficiently and more environmentally friendly in order to sustain the ever demanding need for more food and better wine   while preserving our natural resources.

Having the basic information we can then start to experiment with drones, AUV’s, new satellite images, continuous logging of soil moisture and soil temperature, looking at Leaf Area Indexes and the many more wonderful tools in the precision agriculture toolbox.


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