Agroscope, Institute for Plant Production Sciences IPS, 1260 Nyon, Switzerland

Current state and future development of a decision support system for pests and diseases in perennial fruit crops

For more than forty years the Swiss Federal Research Station in Wädenswil (FAW) has operated a warning service for pests and diseases in perennial fruit crops in order to support the endeavours of growers towards a more ecological production. Designed as a decision support system, it is based on a close collaboration between FAW, the Swiss Meteorological Institute (SMA), the Research Institute of Organic Agriculture, the Cantonal Extension Services and the growers. It employs data from five automatic weather stations and a network of twenty warning computers to drive simulation models and to predict local pest phenology and disease epidemiology. In addition pests and diseases are monitored at roughly 100 different sites by means of twig sampling, visual counts and various types of traps. Information is compiled weekly at the FAW and recommendations distributed by mail, fax and more recently on the world-wide-web. In future new forecasting and communication tools will be implemented with the objective of improving accuracy as well as the spatial and temporal resolution.

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