Risks diagnosis and prediction for wine makers

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags: Agriculture

Consultant engineer Inkoa Systems is currently developing a
prediction and diagnosis system for disease detection in wine
production.

The system, which Inkoa describes as an intelligent information system, has been designed to simulate human reasoning in order to predict and diagnose diseases, blights and nutritional failings just like an expert would.

The system incorporates consultation modules for the early diagnosis of diseases. Once a potential disease is identified, alerts can be automatically sent through the Internet or even mobile phone, enabling growers to find out in good time about any risks and take appropriate action accordingly.

The system is surprisingly simple in conception. It consists of a monitor that captures climatic variables and sends them by remote communication to a server. This allows for the treatment and monitoring of the data on the Internet in real time. The climatic data is fed into a series of mathematical prediction models, which then generate an alarm when a potential disease risk is discovered.

The installation of the system is taking place in collaboration with Bodegas Itsasmendi, in vineyards given over to the cultivation of Txakoli. The aim in this project is to evaluate the incidence of the variables that condition the development and evolution of three common diseases of the vine: mildew, oidium and botrytis disease, in order to subsequently apply the system to the study of other crops, blights and diseases.

Mildew can provoke losses of up to 50 per cent of the crop harvest. The most recent case occurred in Huelva where, according to the data for May of this year, 25 per cent of the crop was lost. The average cost of treatment comes to approximately €650 a year per hectare, without taking into account the cost of labour and other expenses.

The scientists behind this project therefore believe that substantial cost savings can be made. In addition to crop preservation, water consumption, necessary for dissolving active treatment materials is considerably reduced. Currently some 1,000 litres of water per hectare is used up when applying treatment.

The system, which is being developed by Basque-based scientists​, will also achieve a reduction in the use of chemical compounds, and eliminate unnecessary treatments. At the same time, the technology will enhance the growers' knowledge of the diagnosis and treatment of crops.

Unsurprisingly therefore, the new system is being heralded as a breakthrough in wine production. It will provide environmental and economic advantages and also increase the use of IT within an important but susceptible sector of food and beverage production.

Related topics: Beer, Wine, Spirits, Cider

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