Farmers in the Western Cape face greater competition for irrigation water with other sectors, while rainfall is also becoming less predictable due to climate change. Irrigated agriculture in the Western Cape is challenged to increase production while reducing the amount of water used. Therefore farmers need to increase their water-use efficiency. With this background the Western Cape Department of Agriculture funded the development of an open web portal, called FruitLook, where Western Cape fruit and grape growers can access satellite-based information on their own crop growth and water use.
FruitLook provides weekly updates on 9 growth parameters such as actual evapotranspiration, biomass production and leaf nitrogen content, allof which can help farmers understand the effects of farm management on their crop. On FruitLook, wine and fruit farmers can register their irrigation blocks and analyse crop growth and water status over time and space during the growth season. FruitLook data is provided at a 20m x 20m spatial resolution, showing detailed variation across an irrigation block. Variations in biomass production between the different blocks and within the blocks themselves are visible.
FruitLook can help clarify why yields in one field are higher than in others or what the effect is of irrigation scheduling on crop growth. Simultaneously FruitLook enables the wise use of fresh water supplies in the Western Cape.
The FruitLook service has been operational since the 2011/12 season and is currently running for the third consecutive season. The dataset behind FruitLook presents great opportunities for statistical analysis of data from previous seasons' wine and fruit cultivation in the Western Cape.
For more information and to use tool: