Vineyard owners might see a different kind of bird in the sky as WSU researchers use drones to map fields and get readings on vines using subsurface irrigation.
Dr. Lav Khot said they will be using multi-spectral sensors, thermal infrared and more to get a sense of what’s happening with the crops.
“Can we reduce the evapotranspiration and other water losses by applying the water directly to the root of the vines?”
They will check a vine’s vigor and canopy stress in a rapid way.
The project is in its first year and growers could start seeing the results of the study by the third year and understand more about subsurface irrigation.
Khot noted, “What it means is if we can see the water stress in the wines and we prove that with sensors and the data mining that these approaches work, then they can use this particularly to do deficit irrigation in grape wines and maybe some other tree fruit crops.”
Khot also said that subsurface irrigation is not feeding water to as many weeds thus eliminating competition and creating more efficiency.
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Photo courtesy Washington State University