Grape Compass: enabling quality grapes
Powdery mildew, Downy mildew and Botrytis bunch rot are constant battles for grape growers. Once identified in vineyards, it can do great damage to fruit quality and quantity. Chemical fungicides are applied preventively to mitigate this risk, usually scheduled irrespective of actual disease pressure levels. This approach results in overdosing, environmental pollution and unnecessary costs of chemicals and labour.
Grape Compass provides reliable forecasts of fungal disease pressure risks for the coming five days. This allows farmers to only spray for Powdery mildew, Downy mildew and Botrytis bunch rot when needed and reduce unnecessary expenses. Grape Compass is a smartphone application providing risk forecast visualized in easy-to-understand calendars. The risk forecasts are based on cutting edge academic fungal disease models in combination with the best available ensemble weather forecasts.
Scientific disease risk models are used to determine whether the weather conditions are favorable for an infection of fungal diseases. Advanced weather forecasts serve as input for these models to calculate the infection risk for the coming days. Grape Compass uses not just one, but a wide variety of weather forecasts – the so-called ensemble forecast. As a result, Grape Compass has a zero-tolerance approach to risk levels.
With respect to fungicide applications, Grape Compass can optimise vineyard management efficiency in several meaningful ways:
- Timing: postpone spray if forecasts shows no risk
- Product choice: decide between contact and systemic agents depending on risk level
- Spray cocktail content: downy vs powdery vs botrytis depending on risk levels
- Dosage: minimum vs intermediate vs maximum dosage depending on risk level.
Grape Compass is developed together with several high-profile wineries in the South African Western Cape and Spain.