Audio Postcard: Real-Time Agriculture | MIT Technology Review

Pinot Grigio actually produces a white wine that has won several varieties in California, well, it’s a very common variety, and actually we produce purple grapes that make white wine. So my name is Dirk Heuvel and I’m VP of Vineyard Operations at McManis Family Vineyards.

My family actually has roots here and actually grows almonds. Some people say almonds, we say in Ripon, we say, say, almonds.

I feel like if my father or grandfather tried to adopt this technology, it would definitely be. I think there would be a huge culture shock for them there. I still don’t think they understand it well, but they are seeing the results of it. So I think that’s the most important thing — we’re able to show them it’s working and how it’s working for us.

I’m going to say today that I think we’re growing better quality grapes than we were 30 years ago. Just tweaking a lot of aerial imagery, modern irrigation technology, running drip irrigation system technology, you know, being able to fertilize through a drip irrigation system. You can actually look at the image on your phone and you can actually be sure to go out and walk to a specific vine. You know, that’s probably a dead vine that shows up in the aerial imagery. You can use this technique and walk right into a specific area. Just being able to identify the area, you know, using GPS. We can now have site inspectors check the site on their app and they’re able to actually remove and pinpoint where we might have a mite problem, you know, a leafhopper problem, areas that need to be addressed. This actually allows us to pass and cite only specific treats. Instead of dealing with entire blocks of vineyards, we can only deal with specific areas.

Jennifer: Just like five or seven years ago, half of farm workers are not using a smartphone.

Dekhill: Yes.

Jennifer: So, if people are dropping needles, it’s…

Dekhill: Yes. You know, 30 years ago, in order to make a phone call, you had to drive to a small town, or go to your house and call your irrigator to do something. And now, it’s almost, like real-time farming. Now we can make instant decisions. One of the great advantages of using a variable rate application is that you only need to apply the amount of nutrients or improvers needed for a specific area. So before we had this variable rate technique, we would drive continuously, we would make a consistent amount of correction, whether it was gypsum, lime, soil, sulfur, and we would apply those amounts evenly to the entire vineyard area.We now realize that by and using this variable rate technique, we can reduce the amount of correction required for a particular vineyard block by 20 to 30 percent, just by applying the correct amount of nutrients where needed rather than covering when not needed. their place

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