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Ceres Imaging Blog

Aerial imaging & agriculture tech news for farmers

Mechanization will be needed to maintain wine industry acres, says E. & J. Gallo Winery's Striegler

“Everybody in this room knows that labor is a big issue for us,” said Keith Striegler, grower outreach specialist at E. & J. Gallo Winery, addressing a crowd of wine grape industry insiders at a conference in Sacramento. Striegler said Gallo is investigating mechanization in response to that issue, and trying to improve quality in doing so. “The reality is it’s not going to get any bette...

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Precision technology to optimize nutrients and protect the environment

Fabián Fernández has history in Midwest ag research, having worked in Illinois before moving to the University of Minnesota, and he’s seen the challenges of improving nutrient practices. “When we make nutrient decisions, we don’t always think about availability,” Fernández said to a room full of precision agriculture professionals at the Info Ag conference in St. Louis this year. That me...

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Vineyard mystery: how do "red leaf" diseases spread?

To fight red leaf diseases in vineyards, UC researchers know what they need to figure out: what’s the vector? How do the diseases move? Unfortunately the latest research reveals how hard of a problem it is to solve that mystery. “We’re still not sure how this is moving around,” said UC Cooperative specialist Kent Daane. “We’re still not sure its effect on your crop.” So what has the late...

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Field evaluation of almond varieties

“The first thing we have to accept is there is no such thing as a perfect variety,” said Roger Duncan, the University of California Cooperative Extension’s Stanislaus County director. “Even nonpareil, around for over 100 years, the premium variety, we know it still has its problems.” Duncan, addressing a group of growers in Modesto this year, presenting research examining the pros and co...

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Efficient vineyard project tests limits of mechanization for grape growers

  It’s a long way from upstate New York, where Concord grapes grow on the banks of Lake Erie, to Fresno, where winegrape vineyards bake in dry heat. Terry Bates, a viticulturist from Cornell University, made that trip to discuss an issue close to the hearts of grape growers everywhere: labor scarcity for vineyards, and how precision ag and mechanization can help. “A lot of our Concord vi...

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"We just couldn’t find people to farm": Vineyard mechanization in Missouri

“I think the labor shortage hit the Midwest before it hit this part of the country,” said Missouri vineyard director Andrew Meggitt, speaking to a crowd of winegrape growers in Sacramento. “We just couldn’t find people to farm and we needed to farm.” That’s why Meggitt started mechanizing his vineyard, St. James Winery, more than a decade ago. He wasn’t always a fan of mechanization. “In...

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Nitrogen needs in almonds: Tips from UC's Patrick Brown

Patrick Brown is known for decades of work with tree nut crops, and insights about the almond industry. When he spoke in Modesto this year about nitrogen needs in almonds, some of what he shared was canon, while other tips offered growers a fresh take on traditional practices. “Really what you’re doing is balancing your supply with your demand,” Brown said. “If you can get that balance r...

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Vine mealybug: Which pesticides work best?

“This is the most important pest in the Central Valley,” said Kent Daane, a UC Cooperative extensionist, addressing winegrape growers at an event in Fresno. The menace he referred to? Vine Mealybug. “I started working with Vine Mealybug long before we had Movento,” Daane said. “Movento has probably in all of our trials been the best material.” Daane recommended that vineyard managers app...

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Root growth in almond trees: Tips from UC Davis's Volder

Root systems in almond trees may seem like a basic part of the business for growers with years of experience, but Astrid Volder, a UC Davis professor and root physiologist, had some in-depth information when she spoke with growers in Modesto. For starters: While almond tree root systems can extend twice the height of the tree, most of those systems spread horizontally and are not very de...

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Machines don't save money, don't hurt quality: Ste. Michelle's Haun

Chateau Ste. Michelle’s wines are world-renowned. So when its viticulture department turned to mechanized vineyard practices to compensate for scarcer skill labor, there was no rush to put the practices into place. “We figured we needed to fine-tune these different techniques before we had to use them,” said Jennifer Haun, an enologist with Chateau Ste. Michelle, addressing a crowd of vi...

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