Research conducted in Luxembourg vineyards

Published on 13/09/2018

For many years, the Luxembourg Institute of Science and Technology (LIST) and the Wine Institute (IVV), a Luxembourg institute providing advice and information and disseminating the applicable standards to the country's winegrowers, have jointly conducted a series of research projects focusing on vines. LIST presented this research work to around fifty representatives of the region's wine industry at the "Weinbergsbegehung", the annual vineyard visit organised by the IVV for Luxembourg winegrowers.

The test vineyard chosen for the visit is managed by the IVV and is located in Remich. Every year, numerous tests with a particular focus on verifying the effectiveness of new-to-market products are carried out here in partnership with LIST researchers.

Natural pest-control solutions

Using samples taken from the IVV vineyard, LIST researchers have spent several years looking into how to combat the spotted wing drosophila (Drosophila suzukii). This insect, which causes major damage to many types of fruit, including grapes, has an impact on the health of Luxembourg's vines.

In their laboratories, researchers specialising in studying the bio-geophysical functioning of agro-environmental systems have conducted a series of experiments. Their latest experiments have enabled them to identify an interesting natural compound. In order to demonstrate its effectiveness in real conditions, this compound will be tested in the Remich vineyard from 2019.

Fewer pesticides thanks to remote sensing

LIST researchers involved in remote sensing and natural resources modelling use a drone fitted with sensors to achieve the latest developments in precision viticulture. The hyperspectral camera (visible and near-infrared light), the thermal camera and the Light Detection And Ranging (LIDAR) sensor installed on their drone provide them with crucial information. These devices enable the researchers to detect plant parasites, diseases and characteristics, to detect water stress before it is visible as well as other stresses, and finally to build very high-resolution terrain models, respectively.

These remote-sensing systems are being used in the BioVim project - "Monitoring of pests and development of eco-friendly crop protection strategies in viticulture", funded by the IVV with the aim of reducing the use of pesticides in viticulture. Such systems enable the researchers to identify the signs of mildew, one of the most dangerous fungal diseases in viticulture, on leaves. These tests are being carried out in the Remich test vineyard.

Esca, a disease in the spotlight

Finally, in 2019 LIST and the IVV will launch a new joint research project entitled "MonESCA", funded by the Ministry of Agriculture, Viticulture and Consumer Protection. This time, the partners will seek to evaluate the benefits of remote-sensing technologies for detecting and monitoring the symptoms of esca, a grapevine trunk disease that is spreading through Luxembourg's vines.

> To find out more about activities relating to agriculture and viticulture, visit the dedicated page

Picture caption: Doriane Dam (1. left) and Mareike Schultz (2. left) informing the audience about present activities in Drosophila suzukii control.

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Dr Marco BEYER
Dr Marco BEYER
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