Grape Powdery Mildew — risk and mitigation
The history of agriculture is the history of the universe. Modern society is the product of a single choice made by prehistoric humans ten thousand years ago: choosing settled agriculture over hunting and gathering. Settled agriculture allowed for the production of greater volumes of food, reducing the unpredictability that had for so long defined human existence. Creating a relatively consistent supply of food freed up part of society to focus on other tasks important to developing complex societies. Specialization of labor emerged as settled agriculture flourished.
Agriculture has been the focus of human study for hundreds of years, as we have sought to understand what drives society forward. It is a documented and integral part of our evolution; a source of knowledge that modern farmers often draw upon to improve practices and increase yields. However, our understanding of agriculture is far from complete. As our world changes, facing obstacles divergent from those of the past, we must continue to discover and adapt to our circumstances. Moving into uncertain times, where climate change will soon begin changing our landscapes and lifestyles, agricultural solutions must become as nuanced and specific as our problems will surely be.
Fasal’s iterative technology hopes to be a torch-bearer in the field of agricultural learning, revolutionizing agricultural practices for a more sustainable tomorrow.
Though new threats will certainly present themselves in the years to come, existing risks threaten to become more troublesome as environmental conditions become more extreme.
In particular, farmers will face increasing problems from the fungal disease Powdery Mildew — a destructive grapevine disease that prospers in dry climates.
Powdery Mildew is the most common of all plant diseases, appearing as spots of white or greyish powdery growth on the upper and lower surfaces of a plant. In fact, powdery mildew is so widespread that the overall loss in plant growth and crop yields it causes exceeds the impact of any other plant diseases.
The economic implications of powdery mildew are immense; in some studies, infected crops left untreated produced fifty percent less yield. Powdery mildew destroys harvests by interfering in normal plant growth; the pathogen utilizes host nutrients to fuel its own growth at the expense of the plant, decreasing plant photosynthesis while increasing plant respiration and transpiration. Ultimately, powdery mildew weakens the crop and encourages poor plant growth.
Powdery mildew is especially dangerous for wine grape crops. It has the capacity to infect all green tissue of a vine, impacting grape growth, yield, and fruit quality. If blossom clusters of a grape crop are affected, it’s flowers will wither without setting fruit. If the infection reaches the fruit, berries are left misshapen and have rusty spots on the surface.
When red and purple varieties of grape are infected as they are ripening, they will fail to color properly. Powdery mildew interferes with a viticulturist’s ability to grow high-quality grapes.
However, with Fasal’s technology, Powdery Mildew need not be a threat to Indian viticulture. Based on the concept of precision agriculture, Fasal’s technology rejects the uniform practices associated with large-scale farming. Instead, our technology prescribes solutions that are time, location, and crop-specific, built to fit the unique conditions of a site in question. We know that no two farms are identical, so their crop management techniques shouldn’t be either.
For a disease like Powdery Mildew, our technology works to mitigate the risk of infection during its three stages: primary, pre-secondary, and secondary. During the disease life-cycle, Fasal’s technology monitors rainfall and leaf wetness (as spores require moisture to form), humidity, temperature, rainfall, past disease history, canopy level forecast temperature, and humidity along with an ultra hyper-local macro-climatic forecast for alerting farmers when levels reach optimal conditions for disease development. Fasal’s technology creates different management strategies based on the three stages of disease development, recommending solutions based on the specific conditions of a farm. At every stage of disease development, our technology calculates farmers’ vulnerability and provides means to mitigate their risks.
Fasal allows farmers to make data-driven decisions anytime, anywhere. Our technology is constantly learning and adapting, becoming better at what we do so that you can do what you do better.