An SDSS for Expanding Viticulture in Western Kentucky and Southern Illinois

  • Kurtural, Sahap (PI)
  • Masabni, Joseph (CoI)

Grants and Contracts Details


The goal of this project is to provide high-resolution visual tools for potential grape growers. extcnsion personnel and land-use planners to evaluate land for vineyard suitability in western Kentucky and southern Illinois (study area. see Figure 1 in Appendix). This project tIts in with Research Priority Area 1 of the Kentucky Grapc and Wine Council. Additional funding has been requested from the USDA Viticulture Consortium East Initiative to conduct this work in north-central Kentucky and southern Ohio. Increased awareness of viticulture potential in the study arca has increascd the demand for analysis of private land suitability for viticulturc. Much of the viticulturaly suitable landscapc in the study area remains uncharted due to the rclative youth of the industry. Successful and sustainablc viticulturc begins with sclecting an excellent vineyard site. Site selection is the most important decision a prospective grower makes as the decision will affect thc profitability of the vineyard in the study area. where thc continental climate proposes a challengc for this industry. The geography of viticulture created its own niche within agricultural geography (deBlij. 1981). Climate. soil and slope arc the key physiographic factors in viticulture. Boyer and Wolf(2000) in Virginia. and Kurtural et a!. (2005b) in Illinois utilized Geographic Information Systems to evaluate macro and mesoelimates of the terrain using historical climate data and digital elevation models to derive highresolution vineyard suitability maps. Historical climate data has been used to generate region-wide macroscale maps for spring frost events. length of growing season. and prccipitation (Boyer. 1998: Boyer and Wolf. 2000: Badcock. 1998: Kurtural. 2005a). The digital elevation models were also used to conduct surface analysis to derive composite suitability maps for mesoclimate modcling that was composed of absolute elevation. slope and aspect of a given site (Royer. 1998. Kurtural et a!.. 2005b): soil properties and current land-use scheme were also included in these models (Boyer and Wolf: 2000: Kurtural et a!.. 2005b). Youth of the industry coupled with the continental climate is a hindrance to de lIne optimum regions for viticulture based solely on cold-hardiness zone maps or soil properties maps that the extension personncl currently use: as the region is prone to advcctive and radiational fi'eezcs on a ti'equent basis. The specitlc objectives are to: 1) Generate digital maps of the study arca including minimum temperature occurrence. the length of the growing season. heat unit accumulation and the precipitation regime during ripening. 2) Generate digital maps of the study area containing absolute eleyation. slope. aspect. soil properties and current land - use classi Ilcation. 3) Develop a cartographic model that will arithmetically combinc thc afore-mentioned map layers and create high-rcsolution digital maps of 'predicted suitable vincyard sites based on a 100-point score system via sensitivity analyses in SAS 9.0 (SAS Institute. Cary. NC). Statistical sotiware package. 4) Validate the cmtographie model by comparing the 'predicted suitable vincyard sites to existing commercial tree/small fruit enterprises e.g. apple and peach orchards. and vineyards in accordance with the scnsitivity analyses. 5) Publish the digital vineyard suitability maps on an internet map server via Agriculture Communications Office housed at the University of Kentucky. wherc interested parties can yiew the potential of their land simply by typing the US Postal address.
Effective start/end date3/15/066/30/08


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