Japan’s largest wine region Yamanashi is in a drive to achieve organic viticulture, using AI technology to stave off possible disease outbreak.
According to a report by NHK News, Yamanashi Prefecture, the country’s largest and most known winegrowing region located to the southwest of Tokyo has set up a consortium involving Yamanashi University Wine Science Research Center, local wineries, and other interested parties to experiment with organic farming.
Yamanashi prefecture, the first GI recognized wine region within the country, enjoys high altitude, long hours of sunlight but the hot and humid summer makes grapes susceptible to mildew and rot.
What the consortium is trying to do is to use AI technology to develop Japan’s first agricultural pathogen outbreak forecasting system to prevent possible disease outbreaks.
According to the report, sensors are installed in vineyards to measure key data such as temperature and humidity, which are then collected and sent to a cloud-based system for analysis.
It also reviews past weather data to predict possibility of outbreaks. If chances of disease pressure is high, it would trigger a warning which will be sent to wine grower’s smartphones for immediate action.
The university also developed a kit that is able to inspect vine leaves, steams for downy mildew to predict when disease will strike.
Suzuki Shunji, director of the Yamanashi University Wine Science Research Center, told the news agency, “by the time a disease like downy mildew appears on the surface of the leaves, it’s already too late. Predicting disease outbreaks with this system enables us to control them using minimal pesticides.”