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Integration of optical and analogue sensors for monitoring canopy health and vigour in precision viticulture


Remote-Sensing (RS) is the most widely used technique for crop monitoring in precision viticulture systems. This paper considers the possibility of substituting RS information obtained by various proximal sensing technologies employed directly in vineyards in order to enable a simultaneous evaluation of canopy health and vigour status. To this aim, a mobile lab has been developed. It consists of (a) two GreenSeeker RT100 sensors, a commercial optical device calculating NDVI, and Red/NIR indices in real time; (b) three pairs of ultrasonic sensors to estimate canopy thickness; and (c) a DGPS receiver to geo-reference data collected while travelling in a vineyard. During the 2007–2008 campaign, tests were carried out in a commercial vineyard in order to evaluate the monitoring system performance regarding disease appearance, diffusion, and vegetative development variations due to the normal growing process of vines. Surveys with the mobile lab were conducted in two groups of rows, treated and untreated with agrochemicals, and compared to manual morphological and physiological observations that characterised the phytosanitary status of the canopy. Measurement repeatability was verified; both NDVI values and ultrasonic data showed high repeatability (with r = 0.88 and r = 0.85, respectively). Optical data were processed in order to obtain NDVI maps, which clearly showed differences in canopy vigour evolution in the two examined groups, with low vegetative vigour in areas infected by Plasmopara viticola, as confirmed by manual assessment. Maps of the percentage infection index (I%I) were produced according to pathological manual survey results. The comparison between I%I and NDVI maps qualitatively confirmed the real vine phytosanitary status. Ultrasonically measured canopy thickness (UCT) was calculated and compared to manually measured canopy thickness (MCT) (r = 0.78). UCT and NDVI values were compared in order to identify areas affected by disease among zones presenting critical vegetation conditions.

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Correspondence to A. Mena.

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Mazzetto, F., Calcante, A., Mena, A. et al. Integration of optical and analogue sensors for monitoring canopy health and vigour in precision viticulture. Precision Agric 11, 636–649 (2010).

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  • Ground sensing
  • NDVI
  • Canopy thickness
  • Vegetative vigour