Researchers at Cornell University Extension’s Lake Erie Regional Grape Program are using sensor technology to increase profitability and sustainability. With support from NIFA’s Specialty Crops Research Initiative, the team partnered with Thom Betts, a local grape grower and owner of the National Grape Cooperative, to scan 188 acres to develop baseline information about variable rate irrigation. For the past three years, they have been able to estimate the yield for the entire vineyard with a low 5 percent margin of error. The project may eventually allow the growers to share computer-based acreage maps with extension agents. These tools may allow them to develop vineyard blocks that are more consistent, easier to manage, and more profitable.
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