How VRA technology can reduce pesticide use

Effective use of crop protection products necessitates adjusting application rates to match vegetation characteristics. There is a critical need for fast and efficient methodologies to reliably estimate crop parameters. Innovations achieved in the NOVATERRA project have facilitated a reduction in the use of phytosanitary products in vineyards by 44% and 33% through the adoption of variable rate application (VRA) technology based on satellite-derived maps.

A distinctive aspect of this work lies in the automation of the process of generating prescription maps. This development, coupled with the establishment and validation of a model for calculating the volume of phytosanitary product application in vineyards, offers farmers a system to remotely adjust product doses with an error margin of less than 15 l/ha from the required application rate.

This work process underwent validation over an entire season in two vineyard plots in the Penedès area, resulting in significant savings compared to conventional farming practices. Furthermore, observations indicate that the biological efficacy of treatments remained consistent in both cases. Thus, based on these experiments, reducing the product amount according to vegetation needs did not lead to a higher incidence of diseases during the 2023 campaign.