139: Vineyard Irrigation Scheduling

What is the most important factor in vineyard irrigation scheduling? Organization. Having defined company goals and someone in charge of holding the team accountable. Tom Shapland, Co-founder and CEO of Tule Technologies and Lucas Pope, Director of Operations at Coastal Vineyard Services share their top challenges and strategies to apply the right amount of water at the right time. Incorporating tools like soil moisture sensors, plant-based monitoring, weather data, and soil types helps farmers know how much water is reserved in the soil so they can irrigate efficiently without applying more than the soil can handle.


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Craig Macmillan  0:00 

Hi, I'm your host Craig Macmillan. And today our guests are Tom Shapland, who is the Co-Founder and CEO of Tule Technologies. And Lucas Pope, who is Director of Operations for Coastal Vineyard Services. Thanks, you guys for being here.


Tom Shapland  0:12 

Great to be here. Thank you for having us.


Craig Macmillan  0:16 

Today, we're going to talk about irrigation scheduling very important topic, obviously, which will become obvious if it's not already as we move through the interview here. I've had a lot of experience with this. And now I get the pleasure of hearing what other folks say rather than just listening to myself all the time. I've got a question for both of you, Tom, you can go first. Why is irrigation scheduling using a methadone other than just simply calendar approach so important?


Tom Shapland  0:39 

We know irrigation scheduling is important, because every year the yield and quality from a vineyard changes. And we can ask ourself, what happened that the yield or quality is different this year in this very same piece of ground compared to last year. And there are a number of factors we can point to the weather is different every year, how you manage the canopy may be different every year, how you manage the fruit load. And finally, another thing that's important is how much water has been stored in the soil profile from winter rainfall and how you irrigate it. And we know that every year the vines get, a vineyard block gets a different amount of water from winter rainfall that sets up every year in a different way. And how we irrigate influences the water status of the plants throughout the year and in turn influences the yield and quality of the vineyard. So we can look at the yield and quality for each particular year. And we can ask ourselves, why is the yielding quality different this year compared to last year. And one of the main factors is how we irrigated. That if we just irrigate, assuming that everything's the same every year that the canopy size is the same, the amount of rainfall stored in the soil profile is the same, we're gonna get a different result. So if you're really trying to aim for a certain yield target, or a certain quality target, or a certain yield and quality target, you can't just leave it up to a calendar, you're not going to reach your production goal, you have to manage according to the water status of the plant, you have to manage irrigation according to the water status and plants. If you expect to reach some target in yielding quality, you can't manage by calendar to achieve your targets for yield and quality you have to manage based on the water status of the plants.


Craig Macmillan  2:21 

So this would be similar conceptually to the idea of targeted fertilization, where I'm going to measure how much nitrogen in the soil I'm going to measure what the plant nutrient status is. And I'm going to act accordingly as opposed to just putting on so many units every spring or fall. Lucas, what are your thoughts on this topic?


Lucas Pope  2:37 

I think Tom hit it on the head. Ultimately, each season is different. So we are trying to actively manage different things at different times of the year. So going from a calendar type, more of an old school thought process of just irrigating on a calendar doesn't really work. Now, in an environment where quality and quantity kind of drive what we do as a farmer. I definitely second all the thoughts that Tom had. And I think that being active in your irrigation management allows you to drive the boat. I've learned a lot over the years from Tom about how early season growth and canopy growth is really important for quality. And you can drive that and being able to limit the water and stress the vines later in the season drives quality. If you're trying to hit top top quality grapes, it's extremely important. One of the most important factors in how we're able to farm actively with our environment to try and achieve the quality that our clients are expecting.


Craig Macmillan  3:37 

In your career. Lucas, what are some of the technologies and techniques that you've used over the years to achieve that, because there's lots of different ways to do it. I'm guessing you probably have used a number of different ways.


Lucas Pope  3:47 

You've used a number ways. And I've also seen a lot of presentations on different technologies. There are I remember seeing Tom when he was a graduate student give a presentation at Templeton. I fully bought on to the idea, it's gonna be really interesting to see if he was able to actually implement and he made his product commercial, it was phenomenal to see the ability to actually measure your Et coming off the field.


Craig Macmillan  4:10 

What does Et stand for?


Lucas Pope  4:12 

Evapotransporation. So the actual vines breathing per se, it's exhaling of humidity, and you can measure that very accurately. We've also looked at SAP flow technology where you get SAP and track its movement over a trunk and then a lot of pressure bombs, a whole lot of pressure bombs. Looking at also soil probes to see what's going on underground. That's also a really critical part of the irrigation puzzles, knowing what's going on underground. And if you know your dirt really well then really aids in your decision making process for how much water to put on for your goal of that irrigation. So there are a lot of things out there to help you monitor. At some point there's so much data that it becomes hard to sift through and get good information but I utilize now only the... We have a few soil moisture sensors, but primarily the whole actual Et tracking, because what I've found works the best for me.


Craig Macmillan  5:07 

I think one of the keys here is that you've got soil based methods. So you get so much monitored, you've got your plant based methods, whether it's measuring water potential in the plant with a pressure bomb, or whether it's a SAP flow meter measurement. And then you have weather based, whether it be Et, or just trying to work from some kind of weather information. And some of the people that I've talked to seem to feel that relying just on one maybe isn't all it's cracked up to be, but having the ability to look at a couple of different variables. So they Lucas in your case, having some soil and having some weather so that you can kind of correlate and make decisions based on the bigger, bigger picture, I think is great.


Lucas Pope  5:48 

For sure, one of the big factors to all this is having a really good forecast, a really good forecast for seeing what's coming up. Because irrigation timing and management has to be something you actively take care of. And you're always thinking about forecasting is also a huge part of it.


Craig Macmillan  6:04 

There's there's forecasting, and there's also looking backward. And this is something that continually confuses me. And I've tried to figure this out. And I think I'm still confused. So we measured the water applied in terms of acre feet per acre. That's kind of like really important metric on an annual basis, to say, hey, how are we doing? Did we put on more did we put on less? Did we put on enough? How did the different blocks fare? And they could fit based on the acre inch anchor inch to the idea of rain falling, covering an acre of land, one inch deep, thats so many gallons, but that's not how the water goes on to the actual vineyard. Tom, can you maybe address the difference between those two concepts? Because I haven't really gotten it straight.


Tom Shapland  6:45 

We get this question from our customers. And whenever this comes up, I have to pause and think about it for a little bit, because it's complicated. In fact, I normally review some notes that I have to make sure that I'm getting it right. I'm really reviewing those notes now, in the podcast as I talk through this. So let's start with the idea of what is an acre inch. An acre inch is enough water to fill a pool that is one acre in size to a depth of one inch. So imagine a pool that's the size of an acre and you put enough water in there, that when you step in that pool, it goes up to just below your ankle, and it takes about 27,000 gallons of water to do that. So an acre inch is a volume of water and it's 27,000 gallons. When we apply water and vineyards we're not spreading that water evenly out over the acre. Instead we're applying it through drip emitters. It brings up the question how much water is getting applied right under the vine in that drip emitter space in the in the wet area under the drip emitter. And that's what I'm going to talk through now. So let's first talk about a typical vineyard in San Luis Obispo County. Typical vineyard in San Luis Obispo County has nine by five foot, vine and row spacing. So the vines are spaced nine feet apart between rows and five feet apart within rows. And with the typical emitter rates that we see in San Luis Obispo County, if you turn on your pump and let it run for 20 hours, you will have applied 27,000 gallons per acre. The first concept I want to tell the listeners is when you're asking yourself how do I know when I've applied an acre inch to my entire vineyard. You can think of the number 20 hours. In San Luis Obispo County typically 20 hours is how long it takes to run an irrigation system to apply an acre inch of water. That's because most vineyards in San Luis Obispo County are a nine by five spacing. And when you look at the emitter rates and how many emitters there are per vine works out to about 20 hours.


Craig Macmillan  8:53 

And it's easy enough to do the conversion to other spacings once we know that based on like an apply to mine.


Tom Shapland  8:58 

So here's the trickier part. Now that we've established one acre inches, and we've established how long it takes to run an irrigation system to apply an acre inch or 27,000 gallons of water. Now let's talk about how much water gets applied under the drip zone. When we turn on the pump, and I'm going to walk you through that calculation. Let's assume that's the water when you turn it on the pump is spread out under the drip zone in about a foot and a half square area. So picture a square foot but make it a little bit bigger. So it's about a foot and a half square foot. And again, we're going to assume this vineyard is on nine by five spacing. And when you turn on the water for 20 hours and you apply 27,000 gallons of water through the drip system. You're not putting on that water across that entire area of the vineyard. Instead you're putting it on a more limited area of the vineyard just that foot and a half under the drip zone. Foot maps, square foot under the drip zone. So when you apply 27,000 gallons under that foot and a half under the drip zone, you're actually applying 8.3 inches of water to that wetted area. And the reason that's true is because you're applying the water, not across the entire vineyard, but a much smaller area of the vineyard, just the wet zone, you're not spreading that water equally across the entire vineyard. Instead, it's just the wetted zone. So why does that 8.3 inches number important? Well, it's, it's interesting to think about in terms of what's the average water holding capacity in San Luis Obispo County. For six feet of rooting depth, let's just say six feet is a good starting point for assuming how how deep the vines, vine roots go actually think they tend to go deeper. I know they go deeper if the soil is deeper, but let's just assume six feet. Well, the water holding capacity in San Luis Obispo County is 5.3 inches on average. So if you're turning on your pump for 20 hours, let's bring it all together. Now all back to one idea. If you turn on your pump for 20 hours, you're gonna apply an inch of water, but you're not putting that water out across the entire vineyard, you're putting it just in the wetted zone. And if your vineyard has the average water holding capacity in the county, you're putting on more water than that soil can hold under the drip zone. You're putting on 8.3 inches of water. But the soil can only hold 5.3 inches of water.


Craig Macmillan  11:27 

So if I put on 5.3 inches of water only? Am I going to capture all of that? Or is there still going to be some drainage?


Tom Shapland  11:34 

That's a interesting question, Craig.


Craig Macmillan  11:36 

Depend on the soil probably?


Tom Shapland  11:38 

Yeah, let's say that we're going back to this hypothetical vineyard that we've been talking about here, it has 5.3 inches of water holding capacity. If that soil is at the permanent wilting point, so it's very dry already, and you put on 5.3 inches of water in that drip zone, then that water should be there, that water is not going to go anywhere, you're actually going to lose some to evaporation. That's why I hesitated there. But let's assume there's no evaporation either. If you put on 5.3 inches of water, just under that drip zone, it's in your soils dry to start with, it'll hold it. But if you have any water already in there, you're gonna saturate that soil. And you're gonna get some drainage out the bottom, or you'll start to see some runoff off the top. It gets a little tricky in this hypothetical situation we're talking about, I think maybe we shouldn't avoid that for the moment.


Craig Macmillan  12:30 

But this that, because of variation along the coast, this means I'm going to have to have an idea of what my particular water available water only capacity is. Lucas, what how do you go about guesstimating or measuring or getting a handle on that because in your area, you've got everything from really heavy clays to sand.


Lucas Pope  12:47 

Yeah, so the only way to really do it is soil samples. And Tom has helped me dissect some soil pits to figure out different layers, different depths, water holding capacities, actually sending out soils to labs, to find out your entire profile five to six feet deep, how much water you can actually hold or, like in the case of places we have soil moisture sensors, we can just watch the water, and then watch how fast it drains. It's pretty interesting to see. And that's typically why we irrigate not such long sets, the only time we really irrigate really long sets is to leech salt, because like Tom saying, if you're going to do a long set, you're going to carry the water beyond the rooting zone. And therefore you're able to leach those salts farther down. But that's only in overwinter watering. We're not we never really do that during the summertime or even to drive some growth this time of the year. Most of our irrigation sets are between four and eight hours to give the vines enough water that they're in the soil for them to grow, but not be excessive. I think that's been one of the more critical parts are pieces to the puzzle when you're trying to be as water conscious as possible.


Craig Macmillan  14:00 

So Lucas, how do you know what's excessive?


Lucas Pope  14:03 

What's excessive would be I mean, if you have the ability to watch this, the soil sensors, soil moisture probes, you can tell when you hit the depth at the bottom and tell where how deep that is. And if you're being excessive. Otherwise, if you overwinter when we're trying to leach salts, we want to be excessive when waters you know, typically we do that while there's rain coming and a rain event coming or rain event just past. So your soils are going to be somewhere near saturation already. And we're just trying to push salt deeper. Otherwise, it's a really good question. We don't try and be excessive and that's why we keep our irrigations shorter.


Craig Macmillan  14:37 

Then my question I guess is, like how do you know?


Tom Shapland  14:40 

Let me jump in, One way I sometimes see this with some of our new customers who have not been measuring Et in the past. We tell them with our sensor here's how much water your vineyard used over the last week. And if you're applying more water than what the vines used, then that's one way of knowing that I'm applying too much water. So if my vines use 20 gallons per vine last week, but you put on 30, you know that those vines didn't use all of the water that you put on.


Craig Macmillan  15:14 

I want to ask you guys about the flip side of this, how do I know if I'm not putting on enough water? Especially when we're in a drought, we're not getting rain, we may not be getting that soil profile filled up going into budbreak. We may, we're having some heat events. Weather information in the Paso Robles area that I looked at last year showed that the highs were higher and the length of the heat waves were longer. And it's not a linear relationship by any means. I'm not suggesting that. But we had some, you know, 105 for four days in a row situations. How do I know whether I'm putting on enough?


Tom Shapland  15:45 

It depends on what time of year, you'd have different goals for different times of year. So this time of year, we're talking now in the spring, it's May, the goal is to develop a large enough canopy that you can ripen your crop and protect your crop from sun damage. So this time of year, growers are watching their shoot tips and monitoring the growth of their shoot tips or monitoring the growth of their vines making sure that their vines are not slowing down. Once the vines slow down and stop growing, it's hard to restart that growth. And some of our growers are using our computer vision tool called Tule Vision that tells the grower whether or not the vines are less than 10 bars in midday leaf water potential or 10 bars or above 10 bars in midday leaf water potential. And right around 10 bars is where the vines start to slow down. So are, some of our growers are using this tool to monitor their canopies and make sure they're not slowing down if they begin to see signs that they're slowing down like they're seeing midday leaf water potential readings of 10 bars, then they know it's time to take some sort of action. Generally that action is water. I think it's water because I have a hammer, and everything's a nail everything's a water problem for me. But you know if you know the nutritional status of your vineyard, how it's been managed, you think it hasn't been getting enough nitrogen might be time for a shot of nitrogen too. So to summarize, in the beginning of the season, you're trying to manage canopy growth and growers are watching their canopies. If they're canopies are slowing down, they need to apply water and nitrogen. Then once the canopy has reached its full size around pea size, for the fruit stage, it typically happens late May to get the most vigorous sites it can be all the way you know, mid July, and in some areas of San Luis Obispo County, then growers are managing the stress level their plants they're seeing how stressed their plants are. And the best growers have a plan going into the season for here's how much water stress I want at different stages of the crop development. And I'm going to monitor my water stress compared to that target and irrigate when I go below that target. I may hold off from irrigating while I'm above that target. And we started this conversation talking about the importance of irrigating not on the calendar, so that you can achieve the yield and quality goals that you have every year. Wine business is very competitive. You have to achieve your targets for staying alive. Thus, growers are setting up targets for what water stress they want, at different times of the year. And then monitoring that water stress and irrigating accordingly. And so they can get to that yield and quality target that they set out for.


Craig Macmillan  18:22 

And the key key here is that those targets are numerical, they are measured. They are quantitative. I want to touch on the Tule Vision technology for a second because I think it's an interesting hybrid, where the way I understand is that you have a camera, you take a picture of a vine, it then goes to the cloud, there's a artificial intelligence machine learning thing to understand. That takes that image compares it to this huge catalog that was ground truth against pressure bomb readings for leaf water potential or stem water potentials. That's right, that accurate?


Lucas Pope  18:57 

Tom, did you use pressure bombs? Or do you use the Tule measurements?


Tom Shapland  19:02 

We use the Tule measurements, that's what I was about to say. The Tule measurements and Tule measurements are correlated to the pressure bomb. So we use some of the academic research that showed the relationship between water stress measured using the Et method and water stress measured using the pressure bond method. We use that relationship to create our ground truth data set.


Craig Macmillan  19:24 

Okay, so there was actually there's some kind of steps something's correlated that something's correlated something else. The reason I bring this up is I did a study with Vineyard Team few years ago, and we would interview growers about irrigation scheduling and the number one thing that came out of it was visual. So people might have these other technologies but the number one thing they revised the relied upon was visual. I thought that was really made a lot of sense. I get it. But also the other thing was like even with visual information, you can quantify it. You can count active shoot tips, you can again take pictures for yourself, you can you know look at the Tule Vision information. I went to one of your are demonstrations, I was walking around with a couple of growers, and we were identifying just visually ourselves what we thought the stress level of the vines were. And we were pretty good. We were pretty good. But again, there wasn't a number tied to it. And I think that that's important when you're especially when you're working with 10s of millions of dollars with a crop, winging it. Yeah, you know, your comfort level. And so I think that there's, again, this idea that there's multiple ways of bringing this all together, and you can walk your vineyard and look and early, hey, I'm seeing what I think is the right amount of stress or not. But if you can put a number with it from another measure and go, Hey, now I know exactly how much water I do want to put on I don't want to put on and again, getting to how many inches it actually is how many gallons it actually is, I think is really important. Because otherwise, like you said, we're losing water that otherwise we could be using later. And if it's draining out of the out of the flow profile, then we're losing it. In your guys's minds, what are the biggest challenges? Just overall, we've talked about all kinds of tools and methods? What are some of the biggest challenges overall to scheduling irrigation efficiently? I'm gonna start with you, Lucas.


Lucas Pope  20:59 

I mean, it's a constantly moving target. Looking at a forecast right now that you know, we're in the 60s right now. But it's possible to hit 100 on Sunday, and possibly 98 on Monday. Trying to make sure because we're building canopy right now, trying to make sure that we have enough water. So the vines don't stress too early in the season, next week will be really an interesting equation to navigate through because we have so many different vineyards all over the place. Those that have different water holding capacities in the soils, if you have a lower water holding capacity, it's going to be one of my priorities to try and get a little bit of water on this week. Where other sites that are less hillsides or have a drought tolerant rootstock that I know has been established for a few years I'm not so worried about but the constantly moving target is the hardest part about irrigation scheduling, for sure. Like Tom said, we set up targets. I set them up last week for where I want to see my stress levels later in the season. At this point, we're building canopy that's the the focus for right now because I want to have enough canopy to ripen the fruit that is being expected to be grown to a quality level that we want to see into that equation comes how many leaves are going to pull or not based upon sight and location and sunburn exposure or shade cloth use. That all comes into the equation. But because Mother Nature, we're trying to do our best to guide these vines through to the end of the season and deliver a product, a grape itself, that's the highest quality through a maze of what Mother Nature is throwing at us. Like you said, I mean, I can't believe last year's heat waves. It didn't seem that hot. But it was for an extended period of time. The heat spikes I think are what gives us the most, a few years ago when we hit 115 for multiple days straight that that really hurts, we have to be so far in advance thinking about what happens when that situation comes up, we really need to be proactive on those types of situations.


Craig Macmillan  22:57  

And that brings me to the next point, which I think is a tricky one. And Tom, I want you to address this. Weather based irrigation scheduling methods like EtAor EtO, they they are backward looking. They're saying hey, this is how much was lost? How can I use this concept of this technology or these ideas to get ahead of it? The grower has got to be in front right or vines are going to collapse. And then you try to put water back on and it's too late. It's got to be wet going into that, right? Those roots need to be wet and cool going into that. What can I do? I mean, there's not a direct relationship necessarily between hey, it's gonna be 105 on Sunday, and that means it's gonna be an EtA of, et cetera. What help can you give us what? What can you tell us?


Tom Shapland  23:41 

I can tell you what I see in our data. We have data throughout the state and vineyards all along the coast and inland. And it all boils down to one concept. And this is something that we intuitively know as people who love plants and manage plants. And so they stare at plants all day. And that's that if the plants are in a good water status, before heatwave, they'll do fine. A lot of your vineyards right now out there, it's it's early May when we're talking right now, if we got a heat wave tomorrow, are you are on deep soil and those shoot tips are growing actively and the plants are bright green, they'll do just fine. There's no need to panic and put on 20 hours of water. But if your plants are beginning to dry out, if your water status is more stressed, it's on the brink of being more stressed than you want. And you get a heatwave, that's when you reach these situations where the plants crash and it's hard to get them to recover. And I see this in our data, you know, we get heat waves and as long as the fields that are water stress reading is high, the plants do fine. You know there's not a big drop in fields stat it's when the plants are already kind of at 60% fields stat they're already stressed and we get as heat wave and they don't put on water, then we see fields stats just plummet and it's hard to get them back up. And then the growers are putting on a ton of water. And I think most of that's going to evaporation the plants aren't even able to take it it. Does that match what you've seen Lucas?


Lucas Pope  25:12 

Oh, absolutely. Absolutely. The vines as long as they're so happy, going into a heatwave, we're pretty good. And I think that's why we strategize the way we do for our irrigations pre heat waves. And it's always 100%. That's where the forecast comes in. The weather forecast itself comes in having a good weather forecast is very difficult sometimes. So I don't know, Craig, I look at three or four. I don't know how many you look at. But I have my little bits and pieces I pick from each one that I trust. And then I try and put them all together and.


Craig Macmillan  25:46 

Hope for the best. It's fun to compare notes with people on what whether they trust, what forecasts they trust. Tommy mentioned a thing called field stat. Can you briefly explain what that is, because it's a technical term?


Tom Shapland  25:58 

There are a lot of ways to measure water status of plants, they have been developed in the academic literature for years and years. One way is something that we're all familiar with, and, and that's called pressure chamber, water potential measured with the pressure chamber. Another method is to look at how much water the plants are using and compare that to how much they could use, given the weather in the size of the plant. So imagine a plant, if it's 80 degrees out and sunny, and your size of your plant is a six foot long cordon with a nice full canopy, that plant can use so much water, let's say that plant can use five gallons that day. If that plant is not water stressed, it's gonna use all five gallons. But if that plant is encountering water deficits in the soil, it's going to regulate its water use and its going to use less water, it's gonna use three gallons of water, for example. So if plants are using less water than they potentially could use their water stressed. And in academia, this comparison of how much water plants are using compared to what they potentially could use is called the stress coefficient in the Et equation, but the stress coefficient doesn't sound very snappy. We call it field stat, because it sounds cooler.


Craig Macmillan  27:21 

That makes sense. We're running out of time here. But I wanted to ask you guys, what is the one thing that you would advise a fellow grower as far as irrigation scheduling? What would be the one bit of advice you might give somebody? Tom why don't you go first?


Tom Shapland  27:36 

Yeah, I was thinking about this when he said, What's the hardest part of irrigation scheduling. And when I started Tule, I thought the hardest part was getting good information that you could act upon. And now after nine years of running this business, I think that the hardest part is organizational. Like customers that do the best at farming, they're the most profitable, that grow the best fruit, are the best organized. Our best customers have somebody that is in charge of figuring out the priorities of what's important agronomically. And then once they've identified the priorities, agronomically, they have a process for evaluating which tool they're gonna use to help them achieve their agronomic goals. And then they have a process for implementing it and holding people accountable. Farming is chaos. It's a great Mike Tyson, quote, everyone has a plan until they get punched in the face. You know, every farmer goes into the growing season with a great plan. But then the farming season happens, you lose a well and whatnot. And it all goes to heck. And the best companies we work with, have systems in place where they have goals, and they have somebody holding everyone on their team accountable to those goals. And I'm gonna say the opposite of that now. And when I think of those customers, I have a rosy and optimistic outlook for California agriculture. Unfortunately, they're the minority. Majority of farming operations they have, I mean, it sounds really harsh to say this, I wonder if I should say it on record. But I think it's true. From my experiences working in ag, the majority of farming operations, they have too many ad hoc processes. You know, too many things, too many responsibilities, that should be corporate initiatives pushed down on their individual ranch manager. And the ranch manager is too busy trying to run the pumps and game the fertilizer out and getting the sprays done to actually be able to implement these things that are really important and much more bigger picture. And we have to stay ahead of these. Otherwise LA's gonna take all our water.


Craig Macmillan  29:34 

So just to kind of summarize, having systems in place and having people that are responsible for executing those systems. So it's great to have a plan but unless you have some structure that's going to withstand the panic, right, that ensues during the growing season, then you're going to struggle.


Tom Shapland  29:53 

Yes, and I'm sorry, I'm gonna keep soapboxing for a little bit here. That means that you can't put your ranch managers in charge of evaluating technology and what technologies are getting us which practices they're getting us because they're too busy. You gotta have somebody more senior, somebody at Lucas Pope's level in the organization to say, water is important at this company, pest management is important at this company. Here's how we're going to do it. And I'm going to hold you accountable all season long that you're getting this done.


Craig Macmillan  30:20 

Yeah, I think the comparison to pest management is a good one. If you got field scouts that are quantifying and reporting back to maybe a head PCA or to a manager, that's very different than relying upon your tractor drivers to report when things look bad. And unfortunately, a lot of us don't have time or money or to organizationally address that. But if you can, that's going to be your best route for irrigation. And for other things. Lucas, what's the one thing you'd advise a grower regarding this irrigation scheduling?


Lucas Pope  30:47 

Super interesting. Listen to Tom, on one thing, it's hard, paying attention to details is going to be your biggest asset. Spending the time I was struggling with the whole idea of something I want to do ages ago was make work orders like in a winery for irrigation, sprays, so that you hand someone a piece of paper, they have to sign off on the work being done. and report back to you see how to record of it.


Craig Macmillan  31:13 

It's hard to do in farming, though, because it's a day to day morning of, you know, kind of thing. But yeah, I hear what you're saying. Yeah,


Lucas Pope  31:20 

I mean, ultimately, we're always looking to the future instead of the past with the forecast and how hot it's going to be and how our well health is and how much water we have available to us in a reservoir or trying to look forward. And then also having really good people. And it's extremely difficult to find really good people. But when you build a team, and everybody's working towards the same goal, so from the top to the bottom, we all know the same goal, it becomes much easier to implement a plan of action.


Craig Macmillan  31:51 

Well, this is interesting. We we're out of time, the one comment I want to make to kind of bring this all together is we started with technology, we ended up with people. And I think that that's a key bit of this business is the people part and how we apply things. I want to thank you both for being here. I guess it's been Tom Shapland, founder, Co-Founder and CEO of Tule Technologies and Lucas Pope, Director of Operations for Coastal Vineyard Services here in the central coast. Really fascinating conversation. I really appreciate you guys taking the time. Please visit our website for other podcasts and information and we hope that you will come back and take another listen to Sustainable Winegrowing with the Vineyard Team. Thank you.


Tom Shapland  32:28 

Thank you for having us. This was really fun.


Lucas Pope  32:30 

I really enjoyed it.


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