Aims: The present investigation in a Luxembourgish vineyard aimed at evaluating the potential of multispectral, multi-angular UAS (unmanned aerial system) imagery to separate four soil management strategies, to predict physiological variables (chlorophyll, nitrogen, yield etc.) and to follow seasonal changes in grapevine physiology in relation to soil management.
Methods and results: Multi-angular (nadir and 45° off-nadir) multispectral imageries (530-900 nm) were taken in the years 2011 and 2012. Image grey values and reflectance-derived vegetation indices were computed and canopy and vigour properties were monitored in the field. All four soil management strategies could be significantly discriminated (box-plots, linear discriminant analysis) and vegetation properties estimated (linear regression) in 2011. For 2012, global models predicted chlorophyll contents and nitrogen balance index values with a R²cv of 0.65 and 0.76, respectively.
Conclusions: Soil management strategies strongly affect plant vigour and reflectance. Differences were best detectable by oblique visible/near-infrared (Vis/nIR) UAS data of illuminated canopies.
Significance and impact of the study: UAS imaging is a flexible tool for applications in precision viticulture.