Financial boost for the fight against frost - Fruit & Vine

Financial boost for the fight against frost

An innovative frost forecasting and management project titled ‘Smarter forecasting, communication and management of frost risk in vineyards’ has secured over £300,000 in funding from Innovate UK and the Department for Environment Food and Rural Affairs (Defra).

the effect of late-frost on vine growth
Late frost can decimate vineyards, with the potential to rob up to 100% of the yield.

The project, led by sensor manufacturer Terraprima, and Agri-EPI Centre (one of the Agri-Tech Centres), supported by Plumpton College, Vinescapes, Vinewatch, WeatherQuest and Wines of Great Britain (WineGB), will aid the development of domestic viticulture, the UK’s expanding agricultural sector, with the potential to revolutionise frost-related crop protection.

Terraprima Ladybird sensor

The purpose of the project is to create highly localised, site-specific, and variety specific frost risk forecasts, enabling vineyard managers to make informed, targeted, and sustainable decisions when responding to frost events. The forecasting will be available through an app which delivers frost alerts to mobile devices to allow growers to identify targeted intervention methods that are best suited to the forecast conditions.

UK vineyards are expected to remain vulnerable to frost events as climate change is causing warmer springs and earlier budburst. This project will enable vine growers to reduce the threat of yield loss, by taking on a more targeted approach by focusing on risk areas and the intervention techniques based on the forecasting conditions.

Terraprima managing director, Ben Gillingham, said: “This important and exciting project brings together some of the leading players in UK viticulture to improve the sector’s resilience against one of the greatest yield threats we face. The Terraprima Ladybird is ideal for accurately capturing the highly localised climate data required for accurate frost forecasting and we look forward to helping protect UK vines both during and after the project.”

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