Bitwise Agronomy | Celebrating Australian Food and Agribusiness Innovations 2020
Fiona Turner has a background in technology — specifically in deep tech like robotics and cyberphysical systems — and is passionate about its use to deliver efficiency in business.
As a vineyard owner, she understands the challenges faced by grape growers and viticulturists. It was almost a foregone conclusion then that Fiona would team up with other growers and IT professionals to found Bitwise Agronomy and develop innovative methods to help owners like herself increase productivity, reduce operating costs and make better vineyard management decisions.
Bitwise Agronomy’s GreenView smart vineyard technology uses a roaming camera attached to an existing farm vehicle to capture vineyard photos. They are captured as a side view or elevation, similar to ‘street view’ found in common web mapping services. Those individual images are then plotted on a map to provide a full virtual vineyard view through which the user can easily navigate.
Inside the application, captured imagery is organised into playback blocks, which allows the user to quickly make crop-wide comparisons without the need to physically check the vines. That functionality means management practice decisions including irrigation, pruning, harvesting and pesticide application requirements can be made more quickly and from a whole-farm view.
Optional add-on machine learning modules can be tailored to the specific needs of a vineyard. These modules contain a host of artificial intelligence functions for growth analytics and crop health monitoring metrics, providing an accurate picture of overall vineyard conditions and health.
Modules can perform crop-wide comparisons including: growth over time, canopy/vine height, veraison, disease identification, pruning quality, yield calculation, cane lay-down coverage, broken posts and more. The machine learning modules provide the decision making facility that enables vineyard owners and operators to take the right action, in the right place, at the right time.
Unlike aerial monitoring solutions, GreenView delivers precise analytics and actionable insights derived from true vine-by-vine visibility. This empowers the user to easily identify areas of concern and target treatments accordingly, saving on labour costs, reducing crop loss and improving yield quality.
With a holistic vineyard view, owners and operators can rapidly identify climate impacts or monitor water stress levels in winter, and better
plan for growing and pruning seasons based on a more accurate prediction of harvest dates and picking crew size requirements.
Using viticulture-specific ground-truthing imagery and analysis tools to guide vineyard management decisions, everyday tasks like examining growth, predicting yield, recognising disease and avoiding vine-stress has never been easier... with no more need to roam the rows.