Washington State University’s Prosser Irrigated Agriculture Research and Extension Center hosted the Smart Vineyard Field Day at WSU’s Roza Farm on July 21. The field day showcased sensors and technologies that can be implemented in a vineyard to make irrigation, cooling, and growing more effective and efficient.
Markus Keller, a professor of viticulture with WSU Prosser IAREC, presented the basics of both deficit irrigation, the main subject of the field day’s irrigation presentation, and heat stress mitigation in grapes, and how both processes are automated.
“Right now, we’re making all the decisions, right? It’s all manual,” said Keller. “So we’re lagging behind the times. This is the 21st century. We should be automating our irrigation systems, but we often don’t have the tools to do so and that’s what this project is trying to develop; an automated irrigation system that lets you go on vacation.”