VITIGEOSS Business Service: Task scheduling optimization in vineyards
Context and purpose of the study – Agriculture plantations are complex systems whose performance critically depends on the execution of several types of tasks with precise timing and efficiency to respond to different external factors. This is particularly true for orchards like vineyards, which need to be strictly monitored and regulated, as they are sensitive to diverse types of pests, and climate conditions. In these environments, managing and optimally scheduling the available work force and resources is not trivial and is usually done by teams of senior managers based on their experience. In this regard, having a baseline schedule could help them in the decision process and improve their results, in terms of time and resources spent. To this aim we have developed the VITIGEOSS Business Service, a scheduling optimizer module of the VITIGEOSS platform, which offers support to vineyard managers in organizing their work forces and minimizing costs. The VITIGEOSS Business Service is designed to allow the user to easily configure the characteristics of any specific agronomy related process adapting its results. Moreover, it is an online service embedded in the VITIGEOSS web platform, so it can be accessed from any device.
Material and methods – The model developed during this research uses the AI based algorithms First Fit and Local Search to schedule the assignation of viticultural tasks to a set of working teams. The selection of the best scenario can be decided by three criteria: economic cost, environmental cost, or time of completion. The model has been tested using data from previous years from three use cases within the context of the VITIGEOSS project: soil cleaning in vertical vineyards in the Douro region in Portugal, shoot positioning to avoid disease propagation in the Campania region in Italy, and harvest scheduling including its planning in the Catalunya region in Spain.
Results – The application of VITIGEOSS Business Service to the use-cases described highlights the potentially critical impact of task schedule optimization. In the example of the scheduling of shoot positioning tasks, we observe a reduction of the time needed to finish the tasks of up 43% if the manager-defined priority is the time, which in turn leads to an increase of the overall economic cost of about 13%. On the other hand, when the priority is set to minimize the environmental impact of the tasks, results lead to an increase of 50% both in time and money to accomplish all the tasks. As can be observed, the results vary depending on what objectives are prioritized, enabling the simulation of workable scenarios to find the most convenient for each manager.
Issue: GiESCO 2023
1Eurecat, Centre Tecnològic de Catalunya, Barcelona, Spain
2Symington Family Estates, Porto, Portugal
3Mastroberardino, Atripalda (Avellino), Italy
4Familia Torres, Barcelona, Spain