Friday, October 23, 2020

Bringing Space Technology to Water Needs in California Vineyards

Bill Kustas (an ARS hydrologist) and Martha Anderson are fine-tuning computer models at the ARS Hydrology and Remote Sensing Laboratory in Beltsville, Maryland.

Bill Kustas (an ARS hydrologist) and Martha Anderson are fine-tuning computer models at the ARS  Hydrology and Remote Sensing Laboratory in Beltsville, Maryland.

This is to help vineyard managers determine how much water to apply and when to apply it, ARS scientists are saving water in california’s vineyard by using satellite data and computer models to better manage water resources.

The ARS model uses satellite measurements of land surface temperature in a unique way by separating out the vine canopy from the soil surface temperatures. This gives the model greater precision and enables researchers to better evaluate vine stress, says Kustas.

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According to Kustas, an hydrologist, “Winemakers want grapes of uniform quality, and that can be a challenge with vineyards that have different soils and climatic conditions across thousands of acres. Even a single vineyard can have a variety of irrigation needs.”

The technique also known as precision agriculture is said to be helping the vine makers such as E and J. Gallo Winery cut water use by allowing the developed tool identify specific vineyard areas that are under stress and need irrigation.

The results also will be shared with other vineyard operators, offering the potential to save water across more than a million acres of vineyards in California.

This technology is aimed at helping vineyard managers determine how much water to apply and when to apply it. The models tap into satellite data that measure land surface temperature providing information about soil and vine moisture levels and rates of water use or “evapotranspiration.”

The other benefits of ARS computer model includes Soil mapping as it relates to poultry litter applications thus reducing nutrient runoff and reducing fungicide in cotton using satellite and aerial imagery.

The ARS researchers plan to develop a daily digital map of evapotranspiration in California’s Central Valley which will include some of the world’s most productive agricultural lands, at a resolution that will give growers a firm grasp of conditions in specific areas within their fields in two years time.

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