Team New Zealand and Luna Rossa may have mastered the art of taking technology to the next level, but they’re not the only ones. On dry ground, BA Pumps and Sprayers and Pernod Ricard Winemakers have currently adopted the most revolutionary spray technology to enter the Australasian market and the partnership is making waves of its very own.
The BA Smart Sprayer, powered by Smart-Apply® is a density-based spray system that utilises cutting-edge sensor technology, providing viticulturists and horticulturalists with more efficient spray application and an abundance of data and benefits for growers. For Pernod Ricard Winemakers, the sprayer’s potential benefits align with the winemaker’s ‘Vineyard of the Future’ programme and its desire to embrace innovative technology.
“It was clear from our first discussions that we were aligned in terms of wanting to maximise the potential benefits of this exciting technology,” explains David Allen, Viticulture Transformation Manager at Pernod Ricard Winemakers. “We saw an opportunity to deliver out of the box precision viticulture with targeted application, reducing inputs while potentially improving efficacy.”
Researched, developed and field-tested at the USDA National Institute of Food and Agriculture over the past decade, the BA Smart Sprayer, powered by the Smart-Apply System, has been proven to reduce spray consumption and spray loss beyond canopies and effectively reduce up to 87% of airborne drift. John Dixon, Operations Manager at BA Pumps and Sprayers says the precision of spray application this system can achieve has significant long-term benefits for vineyards by way of reduced negative inputs, cost savings, and cleaner and safer environments. “Add to that greater data driven insight, allowing for better decision making, and you can see why we’re excited to have this cutting-edge technology available for the New Zealand market,” he says.
For Pernod Ricard Winemakers, the ability to scan, process and deliver the targeted application in a single pass via a user-friendly, tablet-based control platform, saw the company embark on this significant trial. Initial results are showing encouraging input savings and data collection, which will be continuing during the second half of 2021.
“The potential insights the data captured by the BA Smart Sprayer system could provide, combining a traditional tractor pass in the vineyard with a scouting and reporting tool, really intrigued us,” explains Allen. “Firstly, the core functionality of the unit clearly has the potential to deliver value through reduced inputs and we agreed this needed to be demonstrated and quantified in New Zealand vineyard conditions.
The BA Smart Spray system utilises LIDAR sensor technology that detects the specific architecture of the canopy, and can be retrofitted to most vineyard sprayers. The system records digital information about the canopy, including height, width, spacing and density of each plant it passes. Each spray nozzle is then controlled independently for instant application and spray. The system uses only exactly how much is required, and exactly where it is required, reducing chemical use and achieving cost savings.
“The opportunity to leverage the frequency and resolution of the LiDAR data captured to generate insights into vineyard performance is really exciting, as is the opportunity to collaborate with BA to develop additional reporting tools to deliver value in a wider viticulture context,” says Allen.
“With support from BA Pumps and Sprayers we have integrated the smart sprayer into our operations and have begun the process of evaluating the benefits and capturing data,” says Allen. “We are looking forward to working with BA Pumps and Sprayer to optimise the targeted applications and evaluating the reporting tools that are in development.”