Wireless Sensor Network Helps Winemaker Track Soil Conditions

Wireless Sensor Network Helps Winemaker Track Soil Conditions

The Internet of Things (IoT) has been described as the next industrial revolution. Globally, we are seeing significant growth in communication between machines and other devices, however we've come across this case study detailing how a vineyard is embracing wireless technology for actionable intelligence.

The Hahn Family Wines winery in California has deployed a wireless solution to track soil moisture levels, air temperature and other environmental conditions. This will enable the vineyard to manage water and the occasional chemical use for optimal grape harvest.

By establishing a wireless sensor network, the winery collects data about the soil and air which can help them to prevent vine disease, recognise when there is too little or too much water, and ultimately improve the health of plants and also lower operating costs.

They winery achieved this by using battery-powered moisture sensors inserted into the soil where grapes are growing, as well as a weather station to measure air temperature, a water meter at the water pump, and 2 cellular-connected gateways that transmit the data back to a cloud-based server.

Their mission is to gain actionable insights per block. The winery collects data for each block, and makes necessary corrections to watering or spraying of herbicides or fungicides for optimum plant health and consistent crop yield.

The winery had been using soil-moisture sensors for many years, however, each sensor required its own dedicated gateway, which made it very costly. It was deemed unfeasible to put a sensor and gateway at every acre, which made it difficult to monitor environmental conditions across the vineyard.

The weather station is being used to measure solar radiation, wind velocity, humidity and temperature in the air above the vine-canopy level. This data provides information that can be used to prevent disease, such as botrytis. Botrytis is preventable with a fungicide spray, however, the winery prefers not to spray unless it’s necessary.

This new wireless system is being piloted with a single gateway installed on the weather station, and another located at the water-pump station. The measurement data is transmitted via radios. If the system proves effective, it will be rolled out to the entire vineyard.

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