Lake Erie Regional Grape Program Enrollment

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Grape - Winter Content

BUSINESS MANAGEMENT   •   CULTURAL PRACTICES   •   IPM   •   VINE NUTRITION & SOILS

Local Grower Assists in the Development of Technology for the Lake Erie Concord

Last Modified: July 27, 2017

One of the goals of the Lake Erie Regional Grape Program is to ensure that the research they conduct is useful to grape growers. One way to ensure this happens is to incorporate grower participation into any research project from the very beginning. A good example of this is the current multi-year research project led by Dr. Terry Bates, Cornell University, and funded by the USDA/NIFA Specialty Crops Research Initiative (SCRI). This project involves research on sensor technology and how it can be used to increase grower profitability and sustainability, as well as a Technology Outreach and Adoption component. It is in this area of the project where grower cooperators, like Thom Betts, have been key in helping to shape the project's research results into grower ready tools.

Thom Betts is a fifth generation grape grower in Westfield, New York. He and his parents currently operate 188 acres of Concord grapes. As grower/owners in the National Grape Cooperative, their harvest is delivered to Welch's where it becomes Concord juice, jam, jellies and other grape related products. He and his family have been involved with the Lake Erie Regional Grape Program since the late 1980's, approximately 30 years, and have been very involved in the Efficient Vineyard project, even before it was funded by USDA/NIFA. The Betts Family has been scanning their vineyards for 4 years now using the NDVI (normalized differential vegetative index) technology. For the first 3 years they used loaner units from the Lake Erie Regional Grape Program, but soon saw the value of the information from the scans, and have since purchased their own unit. This allows Thom to scan the entire 188 acres approximately 3 to 4 times per year in an effort develop baseline information on the best time of the growing season to collect data crucial for a number of parameters needed to implement variable rate management. Using this technology Thom has been able to estimate the yield for their entire vineyard operation with an error of only 5% or less for the past three years. Betts Farms has also been using a yield monitor on their harvester for the past three years. This is calibrated by the weigh slips from National Grape when the grapes are delivered to the processing facility. Thom hopes that the Efficient Vineyard project will eventually allow the average grower to share their acreage maps on a computer with extension agents, allowing them to develop vineyard blocks that are more uniform, easier to manage, and more profitable.
The more Thom learns about his vineyards from his involvement in this project, the more questions come up. He is often wondering what else can be done with the data? He sees variable rate thinning being done on the fly, and wonders what other uses can there be for variable rate mechanization. Prescription fertilizer applications and targeted rootworm sprays are two management practices that are in his sights for development of data and equipment for implementation.

Thom believes that a grower needs three seasons of NDVI maps before implementing variable rate technology. It is imperative to validate these maps, no matter what is being measured. According to Thom, "A map is only a pretty picture until you validate the data for the parameter you are looking at, be it color in table grapes, crop size, or soils in a vineyard block." The amount of information that is available can be overwhelming until you start breaking it into pieces, but working with the data will provide information that is necessary to maintain profitability in any vineyard operation.



Upcoming Events

2024 LERGP Winter Grape Grower Conference

Event Offers DEC Credits

March 14, 2024
Fredonia, NY

Winter Grower Conference

2024 NYSDEC How to Get Certified Course

Event Offers DEC Credits

April 4, 2024 : NYSDEC How to Get Certified Training Course and Exam Registration
Portland, NY

NYSDEC training course in preparation to take the pesticide applicator exam

LERGP Coffee Pot Meeting #1 -Special Spotted Lanternfly Focus

Event Offers DEC Credits

May 1, 2024 : LERGP Coffee Pot Meeting
North East, PA

Come learn how to manage SLF when it arrives.  Discussion will be centered around Spotted Lanternfly research, management, experience and best practice for dealing with new and established infestations.  Lunch is provided today.

Announcements

NYWGF visits the Chautauqua Region

The New York Wine & Grape Foundation, led by Executive Director Sam Filler, is thrilled to announce their upcoming visit to your region this April!

During this visit, NWYGF will host an information session about programs affecting our industry. As you may know, NYWGF is sponsoring a Vineyard Survey aimed at gathering accurate and insightful data about grape growing in New York. If you are a grape grower or wine maker in the state, your input is crucial in shaping the future of funding and promotion for the industry. By participating in the survey, you will be contributing valuable data that will help inform decisions about the industry's future growth. We invite you to learn more about the Vineyard Survey, how you can help by providing your data, and how the results will be shared and will support the industry.



The NYWGF team will also be sharing information about our valuable membership benefits and services, as well as giving you an overview of the New York Sustainable Winegrowing Program. The New York Sustainable Winegrowing Program provides a clear pathway for vineyards to achieve certification by implementing regionally defined sustainability standards.

To make the visit even more valuable, a free lunch will be provided.

This is an amazing opportunity to learn more about the exciting developments happening in New York's wine and grape industry. NYWGF is thankful to our partner, American National Insurance, for making this visit possible. This public-private partnership showcases the impact that we can have when we work together towards a common goal.

Commercial Vehicle Awareness slide presentation

NYS Trooper, Matt Luft, presented on Commercial Vehicle Awareness at CLEREL on Thursday, August 2nd.  He has given us the permission to share his slides for you to reference at your convenience to share with others or to review. Please reference this link. 

Straight Talk: Is H-2A Working Out in the Vineyard

Check out the story below.  Our local grower Andy Knight is one of the 3 growers interviewed.

https://www.growingproduce.com/fruits/grapes/how-h-2a-is-working-out-in-the-vineyard/

LERGP Podcasts- check them out!

LERGP POD CASTS

LERGPLake Erie Regional Grape Program - Cornell Cooperative Extension
Your Trusted Source for Research-Based Knowledge
In Partnership with Penn State