Feasibility study of the application of a new technical assistance model for the sustainable management of the vineyard in the territory of “Consorzio DOCG Sagrantino di Montefalco”
For several years have been advancing, in Montefalco, some agricultural innovation projects whose target is to optimize the quality of the agricultural production aimed at improving the environmental, economic and social development of the business model. In particular, the protocol called Montefalco 2015: the new green revolution, born in 2008 and patented in 2013, has laid down the guidelines for a sustainable development of the local wine model influencing local and territorial communication research projects (www.newgreenrevolution.eu).
In this context the program GRAPEASSISTANCE_2016 was born. His objective is the feasibility study of the application of a new technical assistance model for the sustainable management of the vineyard in the territory of the “Consorzio DOCG Sagrantino di Montefalco”. The project, created to actively contribute to the themes proposed by the Expo of Milan, aims at creating a regional system of innovative management of pesticide treatments in the vineyard. The weather changes of the last decade, often unpredictable, have emphasized the need for farmers to have decision support systems to reduce production losses linked to the pace of the agricultural year. Such systems (Decision Support Systems, DSSs) are today the best tool to provide all the necessary and updated information for the management of a specific crop, pests or diseases. The experimental plan includes the involvement of 15 major wineries of the territory which, operating under the system of biologic and integrated control, produce Sagrantino DOCG on a total area of about 500 hectares of vineyards.
The scientific support will be provided by the “University Cattolica del Sacro Cuore” in Piacenza, in charge of coordinating the “Consorzio di tutela vini di Montefalco” in the management of the weather stations and the development of the experimental plan. Through the analysis of meteorological variables measured in homogeneous areas of Montefalco, and the processing of phytopathological models of infection, the Consorzio will be able to support the pilot companies in the drafting of specific phytopathological plans, collecting phenological information useful for the characterization of the vintage crop. The project will place the wine companies at the center of the decision-making process (as individual users of a last generation DSS) and entrust to the Consorzio (as administrator of the system DSS) the role of promotion, coordination and support within the territory, as well as assistance to companies for the use of the DSS itself.
The project is divided into three phases:
- Installation of weather stations free of charge loan for use in some companies (representing the territory) in no less than 15 units. Following this action the member companies will have access directly from remote-control, to the meteorological conditions measured in real time from the station.
- Activation of a contract for the collection of weather data stations and local processing of forecasting models in different micro-climatically homogeneous areas. Following this action the system administrator will be able to produce accurate information on the real conditions of development of diseases of the vine in areas where insists a weather station connected to the network.
- Disclosure of plant protection bulletins based on the collection of data in homogeneous areas and the use of algorithms specifically designed for making the information processing reliable. As a result of this action on farm trials will be carried out comparing the “traditional” management of the company and the one made using plant protection bulletins issued by the Consorzio, in the companies mentioned in phase 1 (and / or other that will become available).
With the project GRAPEASSISTANCE_2016 the “Consorzio tutela vini di Montefalco” intends to assess the feasibility and benefits of an innovative management plans to fight plant disease in the vineyards of the territory, able to lead in the short term to a reduction of dependency on the use of pesticides. The expected results are:
• 20-30% reduction in the number of pesticide treatments in the vineyard with a consequent reduction of the dispersion of chemicals in the environment;
• 30% reduction in the consumption of copper in vineyards managed with organic methods;
• Cost savings of around €200 annually for each hectare of treated vineyard;
• Digital compiling and tracing of the “Quaderno di Campagna” in accordance with the new Directive 128/2009 on the sustainable use of pesticides.