Grape growers use app to measure vine stress
–Nearly a year after the soft launch of Tule Vision, the latest offering from Tule Technology is now even better positioned to help grape growers make informed irrigation decisions for their vineyards.
Growers can use Tule Vision to take midday leaf water potential readings by simply taking short iPhone videos of their vines. Photos from each video are then fed into a model that reports the readings in real-time to the grower on their phone. Water stress readings and photos are also displayed on Tule’s web applications.
“Tule Vision gives us the ability to take quick, accurate water stress measurements that don’t require specialized training or cumbersome equipment. This helps us easily create our weekly irrigation schedules,” says Chris Storm, Director of Viticulture at Vino Farms. “My advice to anyone considering Tule Vision is to give it a try, expect to be humbled, learn from technology, and let it help you become a better irrigator.”
In 2014, Tule launched Tule Sensors, a UC Davis research-based product that uses field sensors to measure Actual Evapotranspiration (ETa) and water stress in the vineyard. The sensors also connect to the vineyard’s irrigation system to measure how much water is being applied. The combination of data is used to make irrigation recommendations that maintain exact vine stress levels that the grower prefers. Using thousands of water stress measurements from Tule sensors and photos taken by field technicians, Tule was able to develop the artificial intelligence model that powers Tule Vision.
For growers who rely on pressure chamber readings, Tule Vision makes it easier to take more readings in less time. For vineyard managers who are less familiar with pressure chambers, Tule Vision provides a simple, quick, and cost-effective way to take midday leaf water potential readings that show vine water stress. With unlimited users, anyone in the grower’s organization can take readings and access this information to get a more complete picture of vineyard health.
“Since the initial launch of Tule Vision, we’ve received tremendous feedback from users that has allowed us to make improvements to the model and provide an even better experience for growers,” says Tom Shapland, PhD, founder, and CEO of Tule.
One change that growers will notice this season is a feature that coaches users to capture the type of videos that perform best in the Tule Vision artificial intelligence model. By informing users in real-time how to position themselves near the canopy, this enhanced feature yields higher accuracy for Tule Vision leaf water potential measurements. Tule is also currently developing a beta feature that will enable users to attach an iPhone to an ATV and passively collect readings as they drive down vineyard rows.
“Helping growers achieve their production goals is at the heart of what we do,” says Shapland. “We rely heavily on our customer relationships and are always looking for new ways to improve what we provide them.”