ARGE FrostStrat

FrostStrat – Strategy for the reduction of late frost damage in wine and fruit growing

Topic area
Agriculture and forestry, incl. value chain
Climate protection and climate change

Disaggregation level
Value added
Risk management
Climate change adaptation
EIP European Innovation Partnership

Project region
Lower Austria

LE– Programming Period
LE 14–20

Project period
September 2019-August 2022 (geplantes Projektende)

Project costs overall
€ 499.603,--

Subsidy from LE 14-20
€ 499.603,--

EN - 16.01.1. Unterstützung beim Aufbau & Betrieb operationeller Gruppen der EIP für lw. Produktivität & Nachhaltigkeit

Project initiator
ARGE FrostStrat

Short description

The frost protection measures presently applied in wine and fruit growing are examined in this project for their actual effect. They are improved and new measures are developed. In addition to that a digital tool is developed in the course of the project, which links data and information in an intelligent way and delivers forecasts as well as recommendations for actions for farms. By means of this tool wine and fruit growers can protect themselves in a better way against yield losses due to frost damage.

Point of departure

Climate change increasingly leads to milder winters and warmer springs. In vineyards and orchards this results in a premature phenology, namely earlier sprouting and considerably earlier flowering. These crops are at this stage particularly sensitive to cold surges and frost. The consequences are devastating late frost damage up to complete yield losses which constitute a threat for the farms. The strategies to combat late frost damage in wine and fruit growing practiced so far are not sufficiently evaluated on a scientific basis and must partly be examined critically in terms of efficiency and effect. This lack of scientific evidence results in the fact that frost protection measures are not applied very much systematically, e.g. at times when there is no actual danger due to the weather or in a phenologically unproblematic stage. For these reasons, not only an evaluation and a redevelopment of frost protection measures are needed, but also the systematic utilisation of weather data (sensors) in order to be able to derive practical recommendations for action for wine and fruit growers.
With the development of a company-specific app, current weather information can be used not only in times of late frost danger but all year round. In the future, this application can also be used for further development in the field of warning forecasting in order to provide regional information leading to savings in the area of plant protection.

Project implementation and measures

1. Improvement of existing, and development of new frost protection measures, on the basis of scientific knowledge
2. Evaluation of the frost sensitivity of types of fruit varieties and grape varieties according to phenological development stages
3. Field observations in holdings where late frost occurs
4. Integration of more than 400 small weather stations for the systematic recording of weather data
5. Development of a forecast model for the small-scale regional frost risk
6. Development of an intelligent digital tool as decision aid in fruit and wine growing in view of the mitigation of frost damage