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The first yield monitor sensor is on its way

By Vitisphere December 08, 2020
The first yield monitor sensor is on its way
“We are going to roll out the sensor in several vineyards next summer to acquire more data and automate the calibration”, promises Benjamin Boissier. - crédit photo : DR
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y 2022, winegrowers will no longer need to walk up and down their vine rows as the harvest approaches to estimate their yield. A sensor developed by Vivelys will do it for them. “It is equipped with several LEDs and two cameras. The first one assesses the distance between the clusters to determine their size, whilst the second one takes very high quality photos”, explains Benjamin Boissier, the company's R&D manager. “It is easy to install on a tractor, a quad bike or a straddle tractor and works on its own while winegrowers continue with tillage or trim their vines”.

An encoder wheel placed on the rotation axis of the machine enables it to adapt to all working speeds. “The sensor always takes 14 photos per metre. If the straddle tractor accelerates, the camera is triggered more often”, continues Boissier. At the beginning of the year, Vivelys tested its sensor in Chile. This summer, the company attached it to a quad bike to flash clusters of grapes in its experimental plots in Villeneuve-Lès-Maguelone, in Hérault southern France. It also carried out trials in Bordeaux.

The margin of error for a manual yield estimate is around 20%, whereas the sensor detected 97.5% of the berries without making a mistake. “And we are very happy with its repeatability. At two-day intervals, we obtained less than 3% difference in ‘grape pixels,’" claims Boissier.

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