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David Wilkins

Research conducted by David Wilkins and the Department of Geosciences recently was featured in a local Capital Press article titled, “Vineyards track weather, soil differences,” which focuses on the Sunnyslope vineyard area, stretching from Kuna to Parma.

The piece begins: “The Sunnyslope Soils and Weather Network is the first regional environmental-monitoring system for Idaho’s vineyards, leaders said. On-site instruments record hourly readings of air temperature at vineyard canopy height, precipitation, relative humidity, vapor pressure, wind speed and direction and solar radiation. Probes set between 15 and 75 centimeters deep measure soil moisture and temperature. The system also provides derived measures of growing-degree and frost-free days, wind run and evapotranspiration, a multi-factored measure of a plant’s water-use efficiency.

Primary investigator David Wilkins, associate professor of geosciences at Boise State University, said the study, begun two-plus years ago, aims to make it easier for grape growers to determine which varietals to grow, and where.”