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Tule Vision App allows growers to obtain midday leaf water potential readings by taking short videos of their vines

by Kerana Todorov
February 20, 2020


Tom Shapland

A new iPhone App may replace the use of pressure chamber to determine when to irrigate thanks to artificial intelligence.

Tule Vision allows growers to obtain midday leaf water potential readings simply by taking short videos of their vines. The readings are reported on Tule Vision’s mobile App and web application.

“Tule Vision helps growers make irrigation decisions,” said Tom Shapland, chief executive officer at Davis-based Tule Technologies Inc.

To obtain stress levels of vines in a given block, growers take a short video of the plants with their iPhone. Photos from that video are then fed into a model. The Tule Vision App then gives midday leaf water potential readings for these vines.

Tule Vision is less expensive and easier to use than a pressure chamber, according to the company. Using the App is also less error prone than relying on pressure chamber readings, according to Tule. Tule Vision does allow growers to obtain data on the spot.

Tule developed technology in 2014 to gauge vineyards’ water needs by using field sensors to measure evapotranspiration – or ET - in the plants. Tule sensors’ data indicate actual crop water use, water stress level and make irrigation recommendations. The sensors are also connected to the vineyards' irrigation system to gauge how much water is being applied.

Tule Vision was developed using thousands of water stress measurements from Tule ET sensors and thousands of photos Tule technicians took in vineyards. For logistics reason, Tule Vision is now only available in California.

Five existing customers in the North Coast, the Central Coast and Lodi tested Tule Vision last summer between August and Oct. 15.

“We wanted to make sure the readings from the App matched our customer's pressure chamber readings and their intuition about their vine's water status. The App worked well, so we decided to bring it to market,” Shapland said.

Growers who use ET sensors also gain access to Tule Vision at no extra costs for the blocks equipped with these sensors.

Otherwise Tule Vision’s costs are based on acreage. Growers pay $40 per acre annually to monitor up to 50 acres with Tule Vision. The cost per acre is less for growers who enroll more land.


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