Virtual Orchard Project

Virtual Orchard Project

Tim Hammerich
Tim Hammerich
News Reporter
With California Ag Today, I’m Tim Hammerich.

Understanding the geometry and canopy profile is important to vineyard and orchard growers to gather information about things like water and nutrition needs and harvest potential. Once too expensive for regular farm use, 3-D models are now possible using drones and photogrammetry.

Cooperative Extension Specialist Dr. Alireza Pourreza works on this project called the virtual orchard.

Pourreza… “We can detect individual plants, in this case trees or it canopies, and we can extract information per plant. For example, we can extract plant height, plant canopy cover, volume. And many of these features are in a good correlation with plant status.”

Dr. Pourreza says this information combined with other data sources can give growers the confidence they need to make informed management decisions.

Pourreza… “My lab has two contracts with the Almond Board of California, and one of them is exactly to evaluate virtual orchard technology to replace some ground-based sensing methodology that is not as efficient as aerial imaging. And that's specifically for predicting yield in almonds. Almond is not the only crop that we are working with. We have projects with citrus, walnut, and also with grapes.”

They hope to expand to other important tree crops as well. For more information visit

Previous ReportVirtual Orchard Project
Next ReportRanchers Need Processing Capacity as Pastures Dry