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How Does VISCA DSS Offer Smart Irrigation Management to Vineyards?

VISCA DSS is integrating climate and agricultural models with farmers’ management specifications in order to design short practices, medium- and long-term adaptation strategies to climate change.

The irrigation widget included in VISCA DSS provides recommendations for weekly irrigation needs based on plant and end-user requirements. This component of the tool has supported the irrigation management across the demonstration sites in Italy, Portugal and Spain. The irrigation model takes into account the plant physiological characteristics, the end-users’ necessities, and the irrigation and weather data during the growing season, to provide accurate irrigation volume forecasts for the next week. The model uses the midterm (weekly) weather predictions which is also included in VISCA DSS.

Figure1. Example of irrigation applied by the end user (purple line and bars) and predicted by the DSS (green line and bars) on an irrigation block at CODORNIU (Spain)

The irrigation widget in VISCA DSS allows the end-users to have an easy access to the irrigation data. The irrigation widget is divided into three panels (Figure 1). The left hand panel has an interactive map which shows the irrigation block selected in the parcel. The central panel presents the accumulated irrigation predicted (green line) and applied by the end user (purple line) and the right hand panel presents the weekly irrigation applied (purple bar) and forecasted by the VISCA irrigation model (green line).

What would happened if this forecast is not available (Business as Usual scenario)?

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Supporting Decisions on Canopy Management in the Italian Demo Site with VISCA DSS

VISCA DSS is integrating climate and agricultural models with farmers’ management specifications in order to design short practices, medium- and long-term adaptation strategies to climate change.

In the Irpinia Valley, located in south of Italy (about 60 km from Naples), a very warm winter influenced the precocity of the budbreak that occurred one week earlier than average. Also, blooming advanced earlier followed by a rainy month of June with some problems of downy mildew. However, with the predictions supplied by VISCA DSS, the Mastroberardino viticulture team was able to contain the disease by increasing the number of treatments sprays, anticipating the action as the prediction of several days of rainfall was given.

VISCA DSS showing that bud break and blooming have been achieved and earlier than normal (July 2020)

 

Blooming observed in the field - Italian Demo Site (July 2020)

This summer, VISCA DSS, in particular the short-term and mid-term climate forecasts, has predicted lower precipitation than normal and higher temperature than normal in Mirabella Eclano estate in the Campania region, where our Italian demonstration site is located. Before the phenological phase of blooming, the DSS, through the seasonal forecast, predicted a dry and hotter summer than normal, followed by the months of September and October with the same trend. Aglianico is the grapevine under the VISCA experimental plot and it is extremely sensible to powdery mildew disease. The dry season usually influences the development of the fungus directly on the grapes. Therefore, such useful predictions allowed the Mastroberardino vinegrowers to take decisions about the canopy and vineyards management in advance. First of all they programmed:

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How is VISCA DSS supporting the agronomic technique of Crop forcing in Raimat vineyards?

Crop forcing is based on moving the grape-ripening period from hot summer months to a cooler month later in the growing season. This is achieved by making an additional pruning, stopping the natural cycle of the plant and “forcing” it to restart its phenology (bud break, bloom, fruit set and so on). Shifting the ripening to a cooler month couples sugar accumulation with flavour and aroma development improving the quality of the grapes

This June, crop forcing has been successfully applied in our Spanish Demo site in Raimat in order to move the grape-ripening to October. According to VISCA DSS, performing the crop forcing at the beginning of June will move veraison from the last week of July to the mid October. In our Mediterranean climate, summers are characterized by hot and dry weather conditions, with temperature values that can be as high as 40 ºC. In Autumn, the temperature drops. The cooler weather conditions allow an optimum balance between sugar and flavor in the berry.  

The VISCA DSS tool is presenting this phenological cycles of the vineyards and taking into consideration the applied agronomic technique which is fed by the end-users:

VISCA DSS shows the phenology stage before crop forcing 

VISCA DSS shows the phenology stage after crop forcing 

What would happened if this forecast is not available (Business as Usual scenario)?

Without a tool like VISCA DSS, we cannot explore the optimum pruning date to implement the crop forcing. Having a seasonal forecast linked to phenological models provide a useful guideline to decide the optimum date to perform the crop forcing.

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Adaptive actions to support vineyard management using VISCA predictions in Douro Valley, Portugal

VISCA DSS is integrating climate and agricultural models with farmers’ management specifications in order to design short practices, medium- and long-term adaptation strategies to climate change.

In the Douro Valley, where our Portuguese demonstration site is located, the combination of abundant rainfall in March and April of 2020 and a very warm winter influenced the precocity of this year’s growth cycle, with budbreak recorded three weeks earlier than average. These conditions caused recurrent and earlier than expected outbreaks of downy mildew. However, with the predictions supplied by VISCA, the Symington viticulture team was able to plan a very effective treatment schedule, which successfully contained the disease.

Flowering also advanced earlier, arriving two weeks ahead of the regional average, and in order to safeguard good fruit set and ensure a healthy crop, the team at Symington continues to rely on timely VISCA predictions to plan ahead and keep disease pressures at bay.

DSS showing that budbreak has been achieved (May 2020)

 

Pictures of Ataíde vineyard of first week of May 2020 showing the phenological stage of bloom

During April, VISCA DSS predicted higher rainfall than normal in Douro. This increase of precipitation would risk the spread of grape diseases causing some loss of crops. To avoid this loss, the Viticulturists of Symington have decided to make 4 treatments sprays instead of 3 with an earlier positioning than usual in the calendar, to block the downy mildew cycle.

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Explore the Preliminary Results of VISCA Project!

VISCA project has been developing a Decision Support System (DSS) that integrates climate and agricultural models with farmers’ management specifications in order to design short practices, medium- and long-term adaptation strategies to climate change. After more than three years since the launch of our project, we are publishing the ‘VISCA Booklet on Preliminary Results’. The booklet gives an overview of the project, a description of the DSS and the integrated climate services, the added value of these services with testimonies from the end-users as well as the preliminary results driven from the demonstration sites in Italy, Portugal and Spain. The booklet also presents an overview of the replicability and the way forward (exploitation). You may download VISCA Booklet here.

 

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Join VISCA Stakeholders Workshop 2019 & Register now!

The 3rd VISCA Stakeholders workshop will take place on 11th December 2019 in Barcelona. The event will present VISCA DSS where participants will get a free access to the tool. The event will host interesting exchanges and roundtables with the VISCA partners, Advisory Board members and external guests about the status-quo of climate services in the agriculture sector and the replicability opportunities in other vineyards as well as in olives and cereals. Check the agenda [link] and REGISTER to join us [link] either in Barcelona or online latest by December 5th at noon!


We look forward to welcoming you in our workshop, don’t hesitate to transfer this call for registration or send us any inquiries you may have to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

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This project has received funding from the European Union's Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme under grant agreement No 730253.