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Ceres Imaging Blog

Aerial imaging & agriculture tech news for farmers

Tools of the Trade: Pressure “Bomb” for Measuring Plant Stress

Here at Ceres, we have boots on the ground helping to turn imagery into action. One of the tools of choice is known as the pressure chamber, also known as a “pressure bomb”, a great tool to measure the stress of a plant. This, in turn, can help inform decisions on when to irrigate an orchard. What is a pressure bomb and how does it work? In simplest terms, the pressure chamber can be tho...

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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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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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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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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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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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Box-pruned vineyard equipment advances for high-wire cultivation

Craig Edwards, owner of Lodi-based Acampo Machine Works, lives and breathes vineyard equipment. His company designs and builds equipment for vineyards in California, Oregon, Washington, and Canada. Edwards came to a conference at Fresno State with a tall order in hand: review all the pros and cons of various types of equipment for maintaining minimally pruned orchards. His goal: to show ...

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Black widow spiders: Understanding behaviors is key to getting this arachnid out of vineyards

  The newsreel plays, and a stricken-looking woman sits at her spacious dining room table, hands interwoven, as she describes the terror she felt finding a black widow spider in a bunch of grapes. “Every single year I can find local news media programs somewhere in the United States—it’s always the same venue…the woman showing it in the kitchen, the husband sitting on the sideline,” says...

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