New partnership to deliver innovative digital tools to boost viticulture sector

6 Sep 2020
Grapes growing in the concept vineyard at NIAB EMR
Horticultural research institute NIAB EMR has announced a digital solution, delivered by ABACO, to drive further quality improvements and profitability of the UK viticulture sector.

The partnership between NIAB EMR and ABACO, Europe’s leading provider of software solutions for land resource management, will focus on developing a digital platform that optimises the delivery of information and the application of data-driven technologies.

The ’Digital Vineyard’ platform will provide a single view on all agronomic data and bring added-value to vineyard managers by digitising their fields, down to individual plants, enabling them to monitor events in real-time including weather conditions, presence of pests and diseases, and support growers implement agriculture best practice. It will also allow quick and effective communication with NIAB EMR scientists via a software App.

The Digital Vineyard is open to future technological advances and use of novel data collection tools, such as drones and satellites.

Professor Mario Caccamo, Managing Director of NIAB EMR, said: “The viticulture industry is emerging as one of the most promising and exciting agricultural advances in a generation. The adoption of scientific innovation via new digital technologies will realise this potential.”

Damien Powell, ABACO’s UK Director, added: “In order to sustain sector growth, wine producers will need to innovate their systems through the adoption of world-class science. By gaining greater insights and ‘near real-time expert advice’, they will be best placed to meet this challenge.

By combining NIAB EMR’s global viticulture expertise with Abaco’s agricultural digital platform, we are building a world leading partnership which will enable the wine industry to continue its remarkable growth while improving the quality that the UK brand is becoming increasingly known for.”

The continued improvement of the quality of the British wines depends on the establishment and management of vines in conditions that, at times in the year, are challenging. NIAB EMR has led the work in supporting the wine industry with the investment in the only UK’s bespoke research vineyard at East Malling (Kent). This ensures that world-class horticulture science can be applied to further advance viticulture in the unique conditions of the UK climate.

ABACO is a leader in land management systems that brings to this partnership 30 years of experience.

The company’s expertise in developing solutions for organisations managing and monitoring land spans the agricultural landscape: from public governments like DEFRA, for which the company is providing a grant and subsidy management system, to private customers and associations like Coldiretti, Europe’s biggest farmers’ organisation with 1.6 million associates. These experiences, as well as a proven track record of successful delivery and references, set ABACO up to become NIAB EMR’s technological partner.

This new partnership with ABACO will allow NIAB EMR to provide new cutting-edge services, which will initially be focused on the East Malling Viticulture Consortium.