NASA Spots Wine Grape Disease From The California Sky 

Pests represent a considerable risk to food production, economic loss, and environmental harm. By leveraging technology, growers can implement pest management practices to protect the plant. 

In a recent article, NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory scientists used machine learning and NASA’s next-generation Airborne Visible/InfraRed Imaging Spectrometer, NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory to observe roughly 11,000 acres of vineyards in Lodi, California, for the grapevine leafroll virus. The leafroll virus costs the U.S. wine and grape industry $3 billion in damage and losses annually. 

The NASA scientists detected the costly infection in cabernet sauvignon grapevines before they showed symptoms visible to the human eye – with the best-performing models achieving 87% accuracy.

“‘Like humans, sick plants may not exhibit outward symptoms right away, making early detection the greatest challenge facing growers,’ said Dr. Katie Gold, an assistant professor at Cornell University and senior author of the new studies. The grapevine leafroll virus can take up to a year before a vine betrays the telltale signs of infection, such as discolored foliage and stunted fruit.”

California is at the forefront of modernized farming – technology and data that result in sustainable ways to grow the nourishing food we enjoy. The results are safer and more efficient farming methods that benefit everyone – workers, local communities, consumers, and the environment.

NASA Wine Grapes


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