Developing cutting edge technology solutions for sustainable agriculture and forestry

This project is one specific use case (UC) within a larger Europe horizon project with 53 partners from 15 countries. The consortium will develop European state-of-the-art technologies in electronic components and systems for future needs, building European resilience in critical sectors and strongly contribute to sustainability targets and climate change mitigation.

The project/use case that will be carried out at Changins is composed of two different subprojects/use cases. The first part aims to use an innovative sensor (PhytlSigns produced by the Swiss start-up Vivent) which is still in a R&D phase for outdoor crops. The sensor harnesses the electrophysiological signals of plants in situ and in real time to provide early detection of different crop stressors. This tool enables growers to respond to plant stress before visible symptoms appear. Early detection will lead to significant reductions of pesticides, in the case of fungal disease, and to a more efficient water use for irrigation. Switzerland is currently the global leader in crop monitoring using electrophysiology. Changins college for viticulture and enology (haute école specialisée de suisse occidentale: HES-SO) will conduct controlled climate chamber as well as field experiments on adult and young potted grapevines using PhytlSigns sensors to evaluate and test its potential in the early detection of different abiotic (water, temperature stress) and biotic (fungal and viral) stresses.

In the second part of the project, Changins (HES-SO) will work together with the Swiss start-up Swisens in the development of a tool to detect and quantify different fungal spores in the ambient air surrounding a vineyard. This part will help to increase the precision of the climatic models used to predict fungal disease (Downey mildew: Plasmopara viticola and powdery mildew: Erysiphe necator). The project will strongly support sustainable viticulture, reducing pesticide application and water usage, improving yields and profitability for growers, in a world highly impacted by global warming.

Project Manager Dr Markus Rienth Professor of viticulture T +41 22 363 40 27

2023 – in progress

Partners: Agroscope, Swisens, Vivent

Funding: Innosuisse, SEFRI