What was the challenge/ problem addressed? Why is it important for the partnership to solve the problem?
The problem addressed was the reduction of the number of fungicide treatments in vineyards in Catalonia. The reason is the growing social and legal demand for the sector to limit the use of plant protection products to a minimum and to move towards ecological and environmentally sustainable agriculture.
How did you solve the problem? (Or if your practical case is still in progress how are you solving the problem?)
The aim of the project is the analysis and assessment of a DSS (Decision Support System) in order to reduce the number of fungicide treatments in vineyards in Catalonia. SISTEMIO meets the requirements of the wine sector, about the limitation of the use of fungicides and the wish of heading straight for organic and sustainable viticulture.
SISTEMIO represents a great innovation in Catalan viticulture through the introduction of predictive algorithms in field management. A new system barely used in Catalonia has been assessed, improving vineyard management, and seeking a reduction of fungicide treatments.
The specific objective of the project has been the validation of the DSS in vineyards, based on weather data collected at the vineyard level and processed with the SISTEMIO epidemiology model.
SISTEMIO provides full access to online information about the epidemiologic evolution of downy mildew (DM) and powdery mildew (PM) in every test plot. According to this information, users take decisions whether preventive treatment is required or not. Effectiveness and treatment reduction along the season is what we have got following the model.
What are the success factors in solving the problem?
Installation and setting up of an 18 weather station network with the cooperation of all project partners. Each of the stations provided with temperature, humidity, precipitation, and leaf wetness sensors. The meteorological stations installed send with periodicity and definition with very good data, making them available to advisors/technicians through an interactive web platform easy to manage and understand.
Unexpected fails, if any
It was possible to evaluate the grapevine disease monitoring system, especially mildew. The evaluation of the system in the control of powdery mildew was more complex since the presence of this fungus was practically permanent under the conditions of the vineyards of the project. In this environment, the strategy of treatments according to the phenological stage is less intensive than that given by the system, although it makes some forecasts of intensity in the pressure of the disease, according to meteorological conditions, which have shown great interest in the global management of the healing of the vine.
The structure and presentation of the SISTEMIO software prediction tool (vite.net) is highly valued. The system includes the real data obtained, as well as a meteorological forecast as a basis for the forecast of fungal development, reproduction and dispersion processes.
Recommendations launched by the system allow optimize decisions both of the moment and the concentration of the treatment in a preventive strategy. It supposes a reduction of phytosanitary treatments and, in the end, a better quality of the harvest.
What role does the advisor or advisory service play within the practical case?
The joint work of the companies, advisors, and research centers that participate in the study allowed us to conclude that the system testing is a very good support for the decision, as it allows very good management of the phytosanitary strategy in simple a user-friendly environment. Although the system allows to continuously monitor what happens on the field, it must be best used in combination with the existing alert system and with professional technical advice (ADV).
Sistemio provides differentiated information at the level of a plot or farm, but that requires continuous technical monitoring, as well as periodic observations at the plot level, and data interpretation and translation into management decisions. These key tasks are performed by advisors, playing a crucial role in project success.
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 Eloi Montcada (emontcada[at]innovi.cat)