The EIP project entitled “Digital platform for winegrowers to implement common environmental approaches to reduce the burden of agriculture on the environment” and acronym “SMART AGRO GRAPE” is directly linked to the concept of advanced viticulture known as “smart vineyards”. The main opportunity and challenge for winegrowers in this concept is to correctly assess the conditions and circumstances in the vineyards in order to determine the optimal time and location for an effective usage of the ideal amount of water, fertilizers and vine protection substances. The challenge is demanding for Slovenian winegrowers, due to the diverse ownership structure of agricultural land and the cultural landscape. Vineyards are widely dispersed in terms of location and, as a consequence, are linked to the specific climatic conditions of each micro-location.
The use of new Internet of Things (IoT) and other digital technologies in agriculture and viticulture can provide lower production costs compared to conventional cultivation in the range of 20-30%. These economic efficiencies are proving to be an opportunity, particularly in terms of optimizing the cost of water resources for irrigation, the use of fertilizers and plant protection substances, and labor costs in the vineyards. Young winegrowers use digital tools mainly for promotional activities and sales, while the use of digital tools for the optimization of vineyard management is a major challenge and opportunity for the future. In order to increase efficiency, productivity and the overall quality of wine, the EIP project “SMART AGRO GRAPE” will equip partner farms with new technologies. Digital technologies, including IoT, can bring useful solutions to winegrowers and help them make smart, data-driven decisions to adapt the way they produce in their vineyards.
The concept of “smart vineyards” thus includes new measurement tools that allow the collection of a multitude of data thanks to the use of low-energy wireless sensors. The concept forms the basis of a predictive agriculture based on the observation and measurement of environmental data to optimize crop production and reduce negative impacts on the environment. The wireless sensors will be installed at the heart of the “smart vineyards”, directly in the soil, on the farm machinery, or as a central sensor station.
The overall objective of the project is to obtain relevant sensory data directly and indirectly from selected farm locations in order to store, analyze and deploy an advanced digital platform that will enable a more technologically, economically and environmentally efficient management of agricultural land – vineyards. Consequently it will have an impact on reducing the environmental burden of agriculture through the implementation of common environmental approaches
The detailed objectives of the project are:
- Establish an innovative project partnership that is professionally competent and able to carry out the necessary development and testing to improve management efficiency;
- Increase the knowledge and digital competences in advanced digital technologies and IoT tools of the involved wine growers;
- Purchase, installation and testing of new technologically advanced sensory equipment for field data collection;
- Collect high quality sensory and other environmental data, archive and analyze the obtained data in a database for the development and deployment of an effective prognostic module;
- Develop new agricultural practices and indirectly ensure savings and improve the efficiency of working time on the farm;
- Contribute to the sustainable use of agricultural land through new solutions, practices and knowledge;
- Carry out effective training and knowledge transfer to project stakeholders and carry out effective dissemination of results;
- Provide sustainable solutions in viticulture in the context of the “smart vineyard” concept.
The key project results include:
- Developed one new user-friendly application;
- Established one digital cloud platform for sensory and environmental data processing;
- Developed one numerical predictive model to reduce the impact of agriculture on the environment;
- Purchased sensory equipment and installed for use on farms;
- One training programme implemented and at least 10 farms trained;
- At least three knowledge transfer events carried out;
- Knowledge transferred into practice in at least five different ways;
- EIP project results disseminated using at least five or more different types of communication tools;
- At least one event organized by the members of the partnership.