Grape Compass Demonstration
Fungal disease infections are constant battles for grape growers. Farmers have much to lose, don’t know actual disease risks and as a result preventively apply high doses of fungicides. This results in overdosing, high chemical and labour costs, environmental pollution and residues on grapes.
Weather Impact bundles forces with WineJob and HydroLogic, to boost sustainability of the wine sector with a new, data-driven crop-protection technology; Grape Compass. Grape Compass uses dashboards with colour-coded graphs and tables to support vineyard managers’ decision-making processes by answering the ultimate question: when to spray, or not to spray fungicides.
The proof of concept has been designed and tested in co-creation with 10 high-profile Stellenbosch wineries in South Africa. This bottom-up approach assures that the application structure and design benefits a broad user group, including small-size farmers who can use this advice in their day-to-day operations. Grape Compass has been well-received by users because:
- It enables 35% reductions and greater efficiency in use of fungicides, resulting in lower labour costs, in more sustainable grape growing, with positive impacts on the environment, on the health of the grapes, on workers’ and, finally, on consumers’ health.
- It is tailored to user needs because it is the first solution providing accurate forecasts including reliability estimates and requires minimal manual data input.
- The application provides a straightforward user design, with advice that is clear and takes little time to interpret. The colours in the table indicate the risk level in a vineyard. Green indicates zero risk, while yellow signals moderate risk and red shows high risk situations.
In this project, Grape Compass will be demonstrated beyond South Africa. Weather Impact, WineJob and HydroLogic will cooperate with two innovative Spanish/Catalonian bodegas (Cordoniu – Raimat and Palacio), to demonstrate the solution in their vineyards. The application user-interface is translated into Spanish and Catalonian, and over the growing season of 2021 it will be tested and evaluated in the vineyards.
Fig.1 Grape Compass app which shows the infection risk of fungicides, using the colours green, orange and red.