viticulture Archives - Agri-EPI Centre

Tag Archive for: viticulture

Precision farmer explores innovation in viticulture

Ian Beecher-Jones, co-owner of JoJo’s Vineyard in Oxfordshire, has been a precision farming adviser for several years and is part of Agri-EPI Centre’s innovation farm network. At JoJo’s Vineyard, he is growing 6 different varieties of grapes to make still and sparkling wine and incorporates agri-tech at every level possible to enhance efficiency, sustainability and productivity.

JoJo’s vineyard is situated in the Chiltern Hills, near Henley on Thames, Oxfordshire. At the vineyard, Ian utilises the latest technology from drones, robots, satellites and data, which helps the team at JoJo’s make the best grapes possible.

There are many great traditions in vine growing that shouldn’t be lost. Ian explains that blending in new technology alongside the traditions will create an opportunity for vineyards in the UK to produce a product suited for the next new world in a sustainable way.

Ian said:

“We’re excited to be working with Agri-EPI to explore the opportunities for JoJo’s and the rest of the UK vineyards. The UK viticulture sector is on an incredibly upward journey, but we have to be aware of producing wine in the most efficient and sustainable way.”

Ian, in collaboration with Agri-EPI and robotics technology company, Antobot, has recently embarked on two projects at JoJo’s vineyard, one to create a vineyard digital infrastructure map, and the other for on-the-ground monitoring using the Antobot robot.

The mapping tool, developed with the Collabriculture project in South Australia, aims to create a shareable, digital infrastructure map of the vineyard’s rows and boundaries. The map can then be shared with any ag tech companies wishing to work with vineyards around the world. The model is the foundation on which drones, robots and vehicles can plan navigation paths before arriving on site, avoiding time wastage from surveying. This will improve the efficiency of data gathering services on farm.

Ian has described it as a contextualisation map as it gives context to all the other digital data maps that are generated on the vineyard.

“If I can’t overlay my rows and blocks on the satellite, drone or robot generated maps I get back, I can’t identify exactly where the variation is.”

“It is the share-ability of the digital infrastructure that is key to establishing a reliable and trustworthy data platform we can all work from. Once established we can share it with a range of ag-tech companies who see the benefits and opportunities of working with one of the fastest growing crops sectors in the country.”

“The exciting aspect about this project is the global potential to remove cost for growers and speed up the time it takes to engage with ag-technology companies whether they are providing drone, robot, satellite or software services. We are all working from the same infrastructure data.”

Vineyards are an ideal environment to work in since the pathways between the rows create a roadway for robots to travel. The robots are fitted with high level GPS and LIDAR systems to help them navigate around the vineyard.

The robots at JoJo’s will carry cameras and sensing equipment to monitor and analyse the vines and grapes as they grow during the year. Gathering data is a time consuming task. Robots and drones will speed that up.

 

Read more:

Case study

International collaboration in agri-tech

Agri-EPI’s Business Development Manager, Duncan Ross, spoke at The Argentinian Embassy in London along with Agri-EPI Centre members: Ian Beecher-Jones from JoJo’s Vineyard, Marc Jones, Business Director at Antobot, and Emil Endres, Operations Engineer from Outfield Technologies, as part of the dissemination activity from the two Viticulture projects funded by Innovate UK and EIT Food.  They demonstrated the use of drone and robotic technology and the potential benefits to the viticulture sector to a delegation of visitors from the wine growing Mendoza region of Argentina, and the wider British Argentinian Chamber of Commerce. Agri-EPI’s Communications Officer, Tatiana Boyle, supported with the Spanish translation for the tech in viticulture video shown to the delegation.

This visit follows a trip to Argentina by Duncan and Agri-EPI’s Head of Crops, Claire Hodge, where they attended workshops related to the current state of UK Agri-Tech, and a conference on biofilms near Cordoba. They then travelled to Rosario to meet with numerous Agri-Tech businesses in the area to gain an understanding of Argentinian Agri-Tech, before finally visiting “Glimax” a company that researches and validates Agri-Tech from all parts of the globe to make tech adoption recommendations to their farmer clients in the agronomy side of their business.

Duncan said:

“This was a fantastic opportunity facilitated by the Department of International Trade, to build on the links we are developing with Argentinian contacts both in the UK and in country. I envisage future opportunities for Argentinian Agri-Tech companies to use Agri-EPI Centre hubs as landing pads, and for UK Agri-Tech companies to explore opportunities abroad.”

 

         

New data and robotics project essential for viticulture

New data and robotics projects could bring much needed time, cost and labour savings to UK vineyard producers.

Precision agriculture specialists, Agri-EPI Centre, AI-driven autonomous robotics company Antobot and vineyard owner, Ian Beecher-Jones, have embarked on two projects at JoJo’s vineyard near Henley-on-Thames to create a vineyard digital map, and on-the-ground and aerial monitoring.

The shareable digital infrastructure project – funded by Innovate UK and Defra as part of their Farm Innovation Programme Research Starter Round 2- will create the digital infrastructure of the vineyard, including rows, posts and vines to an accuracy of two centimetres using real time kinetic (RTK) surveying tools. The shareable infrastructure model, based on the Australian Collabriculture project could save producers many hours of work and cost in setting their vineyards up ready to embrace viticultural technology.

On-the-ground and aerial monitoring will be gathered by robots and drones to add a layer of data to the digital map. The robots are being developed by agriculture robot technologists, Antobot, and drones are supplied by Agri-EPI Centre. This second strand is funded by the European Institute of Innovation and Technology (EIT).

The resulting technology will be highly transferable to other row crop sectors, such as orchards and soft fruit.

Duncan Ross, business development manager crops, Agri-EPI Centre said:

“When wine growers want to survey a vineyard with a robot or drone they have to do a survey and plan beforehand, which can be highly time-consuming if they have to do it for each technology they want to use. Creating a shareable digital twin of the vineyard should cut down the amount of time that contractors spend out in the field, saving producers and technology companies time and money. If growers have their own shareable digital infrastructure built to a standardised format, it can be shared with any technology company the grower would like to work with, reducing duplication of unnecessary onboarding and set up time every time a new technology is to be tested and tried in the vineyard or orchard.

Marc Jones, Business Director, Antobot said:

“This project is a vital step in the adoption and acceleration of sustainable robotics in viticulture. The grower-owned digital infrastructure will significantly reduce the time required for ag-tech providers to begin operations at the vineyard resulting in lower costs for the customer and faster development and deployment of robotic applications.

“The digital-infrastructure map will provide a common understanding and ‘language’ for both growers and ag-tech providers ensuring that precision can be matched to reality and reducing the friction between the data outputs and user. Antobot will use their various robot applications during the project, such as logistics (Assist) and scouting (Insight), to ensure that the digital-infrastructure captures multiple use-case requirements and is robust in a variety of tasks and conditions.”

Ian Beecher-Jones of JoJo’s Vineyard said:

“I expect the viticulture sector to act favourably to these exciting and essential projects. We need technology to find a way to replace the labour shortages the industry is facing by allowing a more accessible way for vineyards to embrace robotics and AI technology. It will hopefully allow us to find a new way of marketing vineyards to our customers through a potentially new revenue stream with consumer facing technological products and innovations. We cannot lose traditional wine-making skills, but any vineyard that can blend traditional with modern ways of production will be at the forefront of the industry.

“From my own 20 years of working in agri-tech, I know that there are growing pains for agri-tech companies; by working together, JoJo’s and Agri-EPI Centre can give a platform to companies to test their technologies and roll them out not only to the wider viticulture sector, but potentially other food growers.

“It is the shareability of the digital infrastructure that is key to establishing a reliable and trustworthy data platform we can all work from. Once established we can share it with and partner alongside a range of ag-tech companies who see the benefits and opportunities of working with one of fastest growing crops sectors in the country.”

Tag Archive for: viticulture

Nothing Found

Sorry, no posts matched your criteria