Improving quality and profitability
from vine to wine.
In 2015, Enviroeye embarked on a mission, in collaboration with a number of Victorian wine producers, to develop a holistic vineyard management platform.
There existed a sense of frustration at the fragmented technology landscape faced by most growers. Different systems for irrigation and soil monitoring, multiple applications for weather and a string of broken promises that had left growers wary of technical innovation.
This sense of frustrated was compounded by the fact growers lacked a central repository for all their different information and data sources.
Simply trying to correlate the season’s weather with say, yield data meant a frustrating journey integrating and analysing information from disparate sources into something like Microsoft Excel. Then the following year nobody can remember how to get the data again or where last year’s spreadsheet is actually stored.
A lack of technical innovation in the vineyard was robbing growers of a concise, real-time view of environmental and crop condition. While having nowhere central to store and analyse year-on-year data, meant growers were missing key insights associated with their management practices and a changing climate.
What was needed was an information hub where growers could access all their data in one place.
And so Enviroeye created VineHub!
The Growers' Dilema
The percentage of producers, estimated in 2014, who were unable to cover their variable costs.
Owing to structural mismatches, prices per tonne retreated more than 50% between 1999 and 2014. Growers have had to adjust to persistently lower prices and must find ways to be more efficient and profitable.
Climate change is seeing shorter, compressed and overlapping harvests, placing pressure on labour and vineyard logistics.
The Experts at Integration
As part of the work to integrate the various telemetry sensors Enviroeye worked closely with the manufacturer of the capacitance-based soil moisture probes, used by the platform’s predictive irrigation scheduling component.
With the successful integration of this range of probes into the GEOWAN LoRaWAN network came unparalleled ease of access for growers and, an ability to combine soil moisture telemetry with other sources of data, such as evapotranspiration, to yield a truly valuable tool in terms of precision irrigation scheduling.
At the heart of Vinehub was an intention to gather a wide variety of environmental telemetry data, using weather stations, soil probes, specialised sensors in the vine canopy and satellite imagery.
However, it quickly became clear that the traditional means of communications, such as WiFi, 3G and 4G (LTE), posed challenges in terms of both their power consumption and ongoing costs.
What was needed was a technology that had both a low power consumption, allowing devices to run on batteries for years and that could be scaled cost-effectively to dozens of devices within a single vineyard.
In 2016, Enviroeye approached GEOWAN looking for a partner to supply hardware and network connectivity, based on the emerging LoRaWAN communications technology.
Enviroeye had selected LoRaWAN as its core communications platform, owing to its low power footprint, incredible distance penetration and its potential to be cost-effective at scale.
Over the next twelve months in collaboration with GEOWAN, Enviroeye successfully integrated all its environmental sensors and weather stations on to the GEOWAN network.
In another milestone, the collaboration was able to successfully retrofit remote control capabilities to an existing irrigation system using GEOWAN ’s LoRaWAN network.
With more than 12 months continuous field operation the collaboration has proved itself a capable, reliable and cost-effective solution.
Soil Condition Monitoring
Soil moisture & temperature monitoring, at multiple depths, focuses on hydration requirements & informs irrigation scheduling.
Canopy Condition Monitoring
Monitoring of canopy condition and micro-climate for indicators of plant water stress or disease/pest pressure.
Combining soil and weather data for predictive irrigation scheduling, reducing water usage & improving fruit quality.
Combines localised observations with extensive district forecasting, with access to long term forecasting & historical data.
Satellite imagery aids in assessing vine health and vigour. It also plays a role in irrigation planning.
Receive critical event alerts, daily health summaries and access the platform on any web connected device.
So VineHub provides these key benefits.....
Make decisions based on multiple, complementing data sources.
Precise management of plant stress for improved quality & yield.
Use this precious resource more efficiently.
Redirect labour efforts towards more productive activities.
Stay informed of events with potential to impact margins & profit.
Build a long term, single repository of acquired practices knowledge.
The summary dashboard provides a real-time plus seven day historical view of soil condition, current weather observations and a seven day weather forecast.
It also provides key agricultural metrics, such as evapotranspiration and growing degree days, based on localised observations, as well as a long term
This view provides detailed information on soil moisture conditions through the soil horizon for a single block in the vineyard.
It is key to assisting growers’ understanding of how the vine is exhausting available water at various depths, particularly those at the critical root zone.
The stacked chart is important in helping determine inflow and penetration rates through the soil horizon.
This dashboard is a rolled up view for a single vineyard, showing stacked charts for each block and a mapped based view of volumetric measurements.
Based on the guidance from the grower and/or agronomist, the critical depths for the vines’ root zones will be determined.
An average reading will then be given on the map for each block as an early indicator of water stress
Allows growers to cost effectively retrofit irrigation systems with remote control integrated into the vinehub platform.
The platform can also ingest telemetry data relating to flow rates and totals to aid in quantifying efficiencies and, articulate requirements associated with deficit irrigation.
A single reference point for all weather data; combining telemetry data from infield weather stations, BoM data and public weather networks.
Growers have access to a wide variety of real-time and historical data, including key agricultural indices such as growing degree days and evapotranspiration rates.
Using both soil data and localised weather observations in conjunction with specialised service providers, the platform gives a predictive view of vine evapotranspiration, allowing growers up to seven days to plan their irrigation treatments.
Using volumetric or gravimetric soil moisture readings, delivered over the GEOWAN network, growers have an accurate real-time view of conditions and can prescribe precision irrigation treatments, critical when implementing deficit irrigation for fruit quality outcomes.
Growers are now actively making key decision based on the platform’s information, throughout the course of the season, and also during the season’s shoulders. The platform now firmly part of their daily workflow planning.