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)?

With no forecasts, farmers  would have to apply irrigation to replenish the water transpired by the plant in the previous days with no idea for the corrections needed for the days to come. This situation can lead to two possible scenarios; either they apply more irrigation than required (i.e. wasting water) or the irrigation programmed does not reach the grapevine water requirements for the current phenological stage (i.e. inducing greater stress) .

Which impacts are expected taken into consideration the predictions of VISCA DSS?

The main outcome will be the improvement in water use efficiency. Having a prediction of the future irrigation needs will allow farmers to get closer to their irrigation targeted program and reduce the losses of a scarce resource in the Mediterranean region: water.

Several parameters are taken into consideration by VISCA tool besides the phenology cycle, irrigation needs and weather information. These parameters and targets include: Sugar content, Acidity (Ph), Yield (m3), Labour cost (manpower, products, equipment, etc) and Diseases impact.

Figure 2. One of the VISCA pilot plots in which the irrigation module is being tested 

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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.