Precision agriculture is gaining presence among the most delicate and challenging cultivations. Viticulture, which has been extremely linked to the progress of the seasons and the variations in temperatures, is becoming a great indicator of climate change.
Experts verify that the most influential factors for the correct growth of the grapes are temperature and hydrological stress. Heavy rains, high temperatures and prolonged drought periods are the most harmful meteorological phenomenons.
Location of Lebanon
Precision viticulture seeks to maximize the oenology potential of the vineyards, adapting to extreme conditions, in order to obtain a high quality standard and to augment the productivity of the crops.
In this adaptation process to the new climate conditions, several wine-growing companies are redefining their strategy, implementing Libelium’s sensors in their fields. By knowing the conditions that affects the vines’ growth, the winemakers and oenologists can calibrate the different parameters that give character and quality to the wine. For instance, tanines and anthocyanin pigments that bring color to the wine depend on the ambient humidity and CO2 levels. Climate conditions and temperature changes also influence the wine’s acidity, which has to be elevated so the wines can last longer.
There are various well-known wine regions all over the world, having the Mediterranean the longest history of wine production. Specifically, Lebanon has been center of the wine industry for centuries, being point of origin for this tradition all over the Mediterranean area.
Château Kefraya vineyards at Beqaa Valley, Lebanon
Château Kefraya is one of the most modern wineries in the country. Located in Beqaa Valley, extends its vineyards over more than 300 hectares at 1000 meters above the sea level. This company has trusted the experience and know-how of Libatel, leading Information and Communication Technology Systems Integrator, to deploy an agriculture sensor system in its fields, based on Libelium’s technology.
Libatel is a privately-held company established in Beirut, with offices in Qatar, Saudi Arabia and United Arab Emirates. This company has a highly trained, motivated and efficient team who totally committed to deliver advanced systems, communications and software integration for businesses of all sizes, across all industries, in the private and public sectors.
Libatel, in collaboration with Ogero Telecom, Université Saint-Joseph ESIAM and Château Kefraya winery, have developed an agriculture sensor network for vineyards based on Libelium wireless sensor network. The main aim of this viticulture precision project is to compile soil and climate information and their effects in the grapes.
Waspmote Plug & Sense! Smart Agriculture PRO nodes installation by Libatel team
The information, automatically gathered by the sensors, is analyzed and different techniques are compared. Until now, parameters were measured manually in a hard, long and expensive process. This new sensors network offers quicker and clearer results.
Libatel has installed several measuring points all over the vineyard to monitor relative humidity, temperature, and soil humidity, among others. Compiled real-time data is sent to the back-end platform, specially designed by Libatel, where is analyzed. This information is accessible from a computer or a smartphone, allowing the winery workers to obtain data automatically and to take decisions in a quicker and more efficient way. For instance, they can determine where, when and for how long a vineyard should be irrigated to optimize resources obtaining the best results.
This project named “Precision Viticulture” includes eight Waspmote Plug & Sense! Smart Agriculture PRO nodes:
- Six nodes have been installed in different locations in the vineyard, directly at the grapevine trunk, on grape level.
- One node has been installed next to the vineyard, the objective of this node is to compare the external weather conditions with the grapevine micro-climate.
- The latest measuring point is saved for various testing purposes and debugging.
Location of the nodes at Château Kefraya vineyards
Every device is installed in a representative grapevine in each parcel. The first six nodes have been deployed next to the vines and have been distributed in a manner to cover all the parcels depending on their configuration: altitude, type of soil, training system, plantation density, vigor and slope.
Waspmote Plug & Sense! Smart Agriculture PRO on grape level
The parameters monitored in all locations are:
- Temperature, humidity and atmospheric pressure.
- Solar radiation.
- Soil humidity.
- Soil temperature.
- Luminosity (luxes accuracy).
Ogero Telecom, the main telecom operator in Lebanon, which collaborates in this deployment, is working on the design of an IoT LoRaWAN network over the country. This network allows universities, institutions and private companies to benefit from this infrastructure for their research projects.
Libatel team installing Kerlink Gateway
The information compiled by the sensors is directly sent to the Kerlink Gateway using LoRaWAN communication protocol. Once the information is received by the gateway, data is sent via 3G internet connectivity through SIM card to the Actility’s cloud platform and to Libatel private servers consecutively, where dashboard and applications are developed.
Actility Thinkpark platform panel
This way Château Kefraya becomes the first Smart Vineyard in Lebanon thanks to Libelium technology and Libatel software development, which also includes support and maintenance for the whole system.
Diagram of Precision Viticulture
The major objectives of this project are to increase productivity and efficiency of the crops, improving customer service quality and adaptability to external elements.
- Automating data collection.
- Remotely monitoring micro-climate parameters inside the vineyard.
- Accessing real-time data from any device at any time.
- Collecting data to inform both current and future work.
- Resolving problems with insightful analytics.
This tool allows the agricultural engineers to take more accurate decisions to better adapt to changes and new circumstances in order to produce high quality wine, preserving its character and features.
Libatel online dashboard application
This project also contributes to the implementation of LoRaWAN networks in the Lebanese territory, consolidating the Internet of Things in this country.
Maher Choufani, IoT Project Manager at Libatel, highlights that “the main reason why we chose Libelium is their great name in the sector. Besides, the company has large experience with similar cases in precision viticulture and agriculture”.
“Waspmote is a horizontal sensor platform that allows us to add many sensors to one sensing node. The Libelium IoT sensor platform offers exceptional interoperability and the fact that Libelium achieved projects previously with Actility and Kerlink, which we partnered for this project, determined our decision undoubtedly”, adds Maher Choufani.
For Mr. Imad Kreidieh, Chairman and General Director Ogero Telecom, “the project was very successful and motivating, especially in terms of improving productivity and agriculture which we depend on in exporting our goods”.
The end user, Château Kefraya winery, makes emphasis in the “improvement of the automatic data collection thanks to the Libelium sensor platform. This system enables us to obtain real-time information, expanding our knowledge and allowing us to better manage our time and resources”.