Precision agriculture is a way of better managing the farming of land by means of observation, measurement, and response with the help of a set of quantitative and qualitative variables from the field.
Thanks to the data received from the monitoring and measurement systems it is possible to be more precise in management of the vineyards, for example in using the right amount of copper, sulfur, biodynamic and organic treatments, and where best to use manure as a natural fertilizer of the soil
You can see from an example of the chart below how conditions in the soil vary across the vineyards.
Basically, as DroneBee who are helping us with precision farming says, it is a matter of “doing the right thing, in the right place, at the right time”. Precision farming is above all an important way to help safeguard the environment.
Here at Torre Bisenzio, DroneBee has collaborated with us to:
- Produce a multispectral map – an AgriSoing analysis (http://www.agrisoing.eu) of our vineyards to help us understand the condition of our soil and its needs. The multispectral map analyzes the soil resistance and how it varies across the different vineyard plots.
- Install a weather station so we can monitor the overall weather conditions, such as rain, wind, and sun. This helps us to understand how to manage the vineyards to grow high-quality vines in a sustainable manner.
- use a satellite and drone technology to monitor the vitality of the vines and to use artificial intelligence models to be able to predict diseases, readiness for harvest as well as possible yields in the various vineyard plots.
- log all the data in the Argricolus software that DroneBee has assisted us in implementing. These are essential tools for us to keep track of our work at the estate.
We are also looking into how to further use treatments based on natural plant extracts. See a video where we do mulching here and the photo below shows the work adding manure to some of the vineyards.
A good example of using the weather station is to ensure we don’t prune our vines to early, which would promote the bud break and leave the vines vunerable to late frosts, which would have dramatic impact on the harvest.
Mike Rees, the owner of Torre Bisenzio, and Niccolò Bartoloni, co-founder of DroneBee, talk together below about the benefits of precision agriculture and how it has helped Torre Bisenzio. Read more in this combined mini-interview below.
1) Why is precision farming getting more and more important today and for the future?
Mike: With the growth of the world’s population, it is critical that agriculture becomes more productive, but in a way which is sustainable for the environment. Using technology is one way of achieving that. What we have done at Torre Bisenzio monitors the soil, the weather, and progress of the plants during the season.
2) There is a lot of talk about climate change, climate crisis, and sustainability today. How do you utilize your technology to remedy these phenomena?
Mike: With the help of thermal or multispectral imagers we can understand beforehand how, for example the variation in soil conditions across the vineyards allowing us to understand in a lot more detail the precise work that needs to be done.
3) If we take the example of the multispectral map, how can that help a winery such as Torre Bisenzio?
Niccolò: The use of drones in different phases of vegetative growth, gives the winery access to maps that monitors the vigour. This gives a precise image of the areas that are in most need of input to improve production.
4) Can you tell us a bit about the technology you offer at DroneBee? Other than the multispectral map that has helped Torre Bisenzio.
Niccolò: We have provided different innovative tools, such as the installation of a weather station that monitors the weather conditions during the year and a business management software for logging of events, including the maps, regarding the estate vineyard.