Precision agriculture & viticulture

What is this about?

Precision agriculture has become an important strategy for improving crop micromanagement, maximizing productivity and optimizing resource allocation (i.e., smart use of irrigation, fertilizers, and pesticides).
Part of the innovation in precision agriculture is the use of sensing technologies such as remote sensing (satellite, UAV imaging), geophysics, and sensor networks.
These technologies provide complementary information on environmental variables related to both plants, soil, carbon and water cycles, through both direct and indirect measurements.

Main research areas

Crop monitoring

The goal of crop monitoring is to optimize crop yield, quality, and eventually optimize resource utilization while minimizing risks and losses. It is therefore critical to observe, measure, and assess the growth, health, and overall status of crops throughout their growth cycle is critical. This involves collecting various types of data and information to make informed decisions about agricultural practices and management strategies. We gather critical information using various sensing technology, such as remote sensing (e.g., drones and high resolution satellite images), geophysics (e.g., systems based on electromagnetic induction (EMI) and electrical resistivity tomography (ERT)).

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Soil-plant-atmosphere interactions

Gaining insights into the intricate interplay among agricultural processes, soil dynamics, and plant growth is a fundamental aspect of enhancing crop yield and overall productivity. Taking advantage of high-resolution UAV and satellite data, spatially extensive geophysical data and flux towers we develop robust methodologies for monitoring and analyzing vital properties of both soil and plants, aiming to optimize agricultural outcomes.

Pipeline developed for the UAV-based monitoring and product development (Figure credit: Falco et al., 2021)
Time-series of geophysical measurement of soil electrical conductivity (Figure credit: Falco et al., 2021)

Given the socioeconomic and cultural importance of vineyards, our research explores the value of increasingly available methods such as remote sensing (see airborne and ground hyperspectral imaging ) and geophysics to characterize both soil and plants properties and explore their covariability. Our work in viticulture focuses on the understanding soil-plant interactions, and in particular, the influence of soil spatial heterogeneity (e.g, soil texture, Ph, etc) on grapevine vigor (or vegetation biomass) and nutrients.

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Biogeophysics for Climate Resilient Viticulture (France-Berkeley Fund)

Selected publications

  • Yu, S., Falco, N., Patel, N., Wu, Y., & Wainwright, H. (2023). Diverging climate response of corn yield and carbon use efficiency across the U.S. Environmental Research Letters. Link
  • Falco, N., Wainwright, H. M., Dafflon, B., Ulrich, C., Soom, F., Peterson, J. E., Brown, J. B., Schaettle, K. B., Williamson, M., Cothren, J. D., Ham, R. G., McEntire, J. A., & Hubbard, S. S. (2021). Influence of soil heterogeneity on soybean plant development and crop yield evaluated using time-series of UAV and ground-based geophysical imagery. Scientific Reports, 11(1), 7046. Link
  • Hubbard, S. S., Schmutz, M., Balde, A., Falco, N., Peruzzo, L., Dafflon, B., Léger, E., & Wu, Y. (2021). Estimation of soil classes and their relationship to grapevine vigor in a Bordeaux vineyard: Advancing the practical joint use of electromagnetic induction (EMI) and NDVI datasets for precision viticulture. Precision Agriculture. Link

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