Decision support system for the management of leaf and ear diseases in winter wheat

What was the challenge/ problem that was addressed? Why is it important for the partnership to solve the problem?

One of the main arable crops grown in Latvia is winter wheat. Wheat is also the biggest export product of Latvian plant production. The main objective of this project is to help conventional farmers improve winter wheat growing technology by improving one of the most difficult tasks: recognizing the risk factors, which provoke and promote different winter wheat leaf and ear diseases. The internet-based decision support system will be a tool for advisers and farmers to calculate potential winter wheat yield losses in different cropping systems and in different meteorological conditions.  That will enhance the effective use of existing resources and increasing the profit of winter wheat growing.

How did you solve the problem? (Or if your practical case is still in progress how are you solving the problem?)

Project activities involve setting up different winter wheat field trials and diseases monitoring trials and analyzing gathered data. The partnership is testing different fungicide application intensity and timings with traditional soil plowing system and soil minimum tillage system after two different pre-crops.  15 different winter wheat varieties are tested for disease sensitivity. Besides partnership is focusing on finding the right balance of different N fertilizers amount use and fungicide usage intensity. Additionally, greenhouse gasses are measured in this trial.
What is innovative in your practical case? (e.g. technological innovation, new product or services, market innovations, social/organizational innovations, etc.)

What are the success factors in solving the problem?

Strong partnership (leading scientists, advisors, and open-minded farmers), possibility to develop the idea in the project proposal and apply for funds at the right time.

Unexpected fails, if any

Since the project start, each year was totally different from the weather perspective, therefore gathered data for the project period is not fully comparable at the moment.

Lessons learned

Weather conditions are so unpredictable – there are no two similar years therefore it is clear that it will not be enough with five years of trials to collect reliable data. Farmers should be involved in the early stage drafting of this decision-making support system to make it as user-friendly as possible. Programming works take longer than expected.

What role does the advisor or advisory service play within the practical case?

During the years of work, the advisor was the person who identified the problem which is being solved within the EIP project “Development of a decision support system for the management of leaf and ear diseases in winter wheat”. Now in close cooperation with farmers and scientists gathered data has been analyzed and reliable algorithms created. The next step is to create a demo version of the decision-making system which can be presented to farmers for testing. Besides focus groups of farmers are being organized to gather information on the best functional solutions.

Can your approach be transferred and/or adapted for other innovation challenges and regions?


Estimated transferability on a scale from 1 to 5
(where 1 is easy and 5 very difficult)


For sharing the experience on the good practice, please contact Oskars Balodis (oskars.balodis[at]