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O. 24-Decision support systems (DSS) for weed control in Europe–state-of-the-art and identification of 'best parts' for unification on a European level

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Abstract

A survey has been conducted of decisions support systems (DSS's) for weed control in Europe. 9 DSS's representing 7 countries were studied. These were all targeted at farmers, but they differed in decisions supported, in number of crops covered and in demonstrated impact. At a workshop in Denmark in March 2008, a set of 'best parts' / 'building blocks' from these DSS's suitable for unification of a European level was identified. These could form the basis for building and validating DSS's on a European level that meets requirements for robustness in production lines and which hold some potential for reducing dependency and / or use of herbicides. When some robust and potent DSS concepts have been identified, the production and exchange of data that support integrated decision algorithms and calculation models of such DSS should be co-ordinated on a European level.
ENDURE International Conference 2008
Diversifying crop protection, 12-15 October 2008
La Grande-Motte, France - Oral presentations
O.24 - Decision support systems (DSS) for weed control
in Europe – state-of-the-art and identification of ‘best parts’
for unification on a European level
Rydahl, P.1, Berti, A.2, Munier-Jolain, N.3
1 Aarhus University, Faculty of Agricultural Sciences, Flakkebjerg – Slagelse, 4200, Denmark
2 Dipartimento di Agronomia Ambientale e Produzioni Vegetali dell'Università di Padova, Agripolis, 35020
Legnaro (Padova), Italy
3 INRA Centre de Dijon, 17 rue Sully - B.P.86510 - 21065 Dijon Cedex, France
Contact: per.rydahl@agrsci.dk
Abstract
A survey has been conducted of decisions support systems (DSS’s) for weed control in Europe. 9 DSS’s representing 7
countries were studied. These were all targeted at farmers, but they differed in decisions supported, in number of crops covered
and in demonstrated impact. At a workshop in Denmark in March 2008, a set of 'best parts' / 'building blocks' from these DSS’s
suitable for unification of a European level was identified. These could form the basis for building and validating DSS’s on a
European level that meets requirements for robustness in production lines and which hold some potential for reducing
dependency and / or use of herbicides. When some robust and potent DSS concepts have been identified, the production and
exchange of data that support integrated decision algorithms and calculation models of such DSS should be co-ordinated on a
European level.
State-of-the-art
A common data form was developed to conduct a survey on existing DSS’s for weed control in EU-
countries and Switzerland. The survey included the following main questions:
Which decisions are supported?
Which modeling approaches have been used?
How is communication with users being done?
Have the DSS’s demonstrated some impact?
Have opportunities for integration been identified?
Are procedures for updating been followed?
Have potentials for unification been identified?
Are there restrictions regarding ownership?
Has feedback to research been demonstrated?
Have some 'best parts' been identified locally?
Results from the survey were presented on several DSS’s at the pan-European workshop held in
Flakkebjerg, Denmark in March, 2008. The objectives of this workshop were to present exising DSS’s
for crop protection and to identify some ‘best parts’ suitable for unification on a European level.
Data are available on 9 DSS’s from 7 countries (Denmark, France, Germany, Italy, Netherlands,
Sweden and UK).
The DSS’s were developed and disseminated for different crops, for different geographical conditions
and for differing objectives. Consequently, common traits and differing traits have been identified. A
common trait is that the DSS’s identify treatments best suited according to some criteria targeted for
farmers. A common shortcoming is lack of data supporting the specific decision algorithms and
calculation models that have been integrated in the DSS’s.
Considering differing traits, the following aspects were identified:
Economic evaluations
Environmental impact
Dose optimisation
O.24 - Rydahl, P., Berti, A., Munier-Jolain, N. - p. 1
ENDURE International Conference 2008
Diversifying crop protection, 12-15 October 2008
La Grande-Motte, France - Oral presentations
Weather effects
Optimization of spray technique
Herbicide resistance
Support for weed identification
An evolution trend has been that DSS’s have developed from considering only a few aspects of weed
control, e.g. bio-economic evaluation of weed control options, spray/no spray approaches, to DSS’s
that often include decision algorithms and calculation models that integrate more aspects, e.g.
optimum dose rates, weather conditions, environmental issues, implementation of treatments and the
emerging problem of herbicide resistance development. Some DSS’s include only a few crops and
weed species, while other DSS’s are fully functional for major crops and weeds on national/regional
scales. Some DSS’s have demonstrated impact in terms of reduced environmental impact or
increased economic net return for farmers.
Considering communication with end users, most DSS’s do not allow end users to interact with
decision algorithms and model parameters. Consequently, the scientific basis of recommendations
delivered by the DSS’s are rarely transparent to the end users. Some DSS’s have already been
implemented in different countries, but only 3% or less of the farmers in different countries are using
the systems.
Identification of ‘best parts’ suitable for unification on a European level
On the pan-European workshop in Flakkebjerg in March 2008, a set of ‘building blocks’ representing
’best parts’ of existing DSS’s, were identified. Building blocks were identified in the following domains:
Quantification of the need for control:
o Weed density equivalents
o Crop rotation aspects
o Integration of different aspects
Efficacy of herbicides:
o Cross tables
o Dose/response functions/Additive Dose Model
o Site-specific evaluations
Environmental impact of herbicides:
o Risk factors
o Treatment Frequency Index (TFI)
Climatic conditions:
o Long term conditions
o Short term conditions
Suggestions for ’next moves’
Having identified building blocks suitable for unification on a European level, specific characteristics of
building blocks should be identified too. Different DSS concepts that consist of different building blocks
should be developed, adjusted and validated for national/regional conditions. Initially, priority should
be given to a limited number of crops, nations/regions and building blocks. Special considerations
should be given to needs for decision support among farmers and advisors.
If such concepts demonstrate suitable robustness in the production line and some potentials, e.g. in
one or more of the following domains:
Justification of the use of herbicides
Reduction in the dependency on herbicides
Reduction of the use of herbicides
Reduction of environmental impact of herbicides
Co-ordinated efforts could be made across the European level to produce and exchange specific data
that support decision algorithms and calculation models in the selected DSS concepts.
O.24 - Rydahl, P., Berti, A., Munier-Jolain, N. - p. 2
ENDURE International Conference 2008
Diversifying crop protection, 12-15 October 2008
La Grande-Motte, France - Oral presentations
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La Grande-Motte, France - Oral presentations
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Chapter
Integrated weed control is mandatory in the current legislative framework for sustainable plant protection programmes. The advent of synthetic pesticides in the 1950s allowed farmers to simplify cropping systems and forego more complicated crop protection strategies, especially in cereal production. Moreover, the awareness of the necessity to decrease pesticide use has been raised considerably since the mid-1980s in Europe. In this work, a Danish Decision Support System (DSS) for Field-Specific Crop Management is presented. This DSS, known as Crop Protection Online (CPO) and later IPMwise, optimizes herbicide weed control by providing recommendations of specific herbicide solutions to achieve a required control level. It has been developed since the 1980s, and the actual version (IPMwise) has recently been adapted to the edaphic and climatic conditions of Spain.
Chapter
This chapter reviews the major conceptual approaches and specifications for the design of site-specific weed management decision support systems (SSWM-DSS), recent advances in the use of remote and ground platforms and sensors for information gathering and processing, and initial experiences translating this information into chemical and physical weed control actuations through decision algorithms and models.
Article
Full-text available
Herbicide efficacy testing field trials were carried out at the Estonian University of Life Sciences in 2005–2007. The present paper deals with the efficacy of the "I-Taimekaitse (PC plant protection)" decision support system weed control module and with possibilities to use reduced herbicide dosages in chemical weed control. The results from the medium-and high-efficiency weed control models used in the experiment are positive. Banvel 4S with narrow effect spectrum was of lowest efficiency, even when full doses were used. Sekator OD and Mustang were with wide effect spectrum and their efficiency in controlling any of the weeds was higher than the effect of other herbicides, even if quarter of full doses was used. Full or half doses of Ariane S were successful in controlling most of the herbicides in the experiment.
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The selection of the best weed control option can be improved using decision-support systems considering the different factors affecting the efficacy (weed species, growth stage, climatic conditions) and the economics of the treatments. An interactive microcomputer program called GESTINF has been developed to assist in the selection of weed control options in soybean and winter wheat. Using observed weed densities, crop weed-free yield and grain price as input data, the program estimates potential crop damage from multispecies weed complexes and ranks the different weed control options according to expected net returns. The program also gives estimates of yield loss due to weeds surviving the treatment and an environmental index indicating how hazardous the treatment is for the water-table, thus allowing a selection of treatments both on an economic and an environmental basis. The system has been tested for 4 years in different locations of north-eastern Italy. The system forecasted the yield losses observed in the field fairly accurately and proved capable of selecting appropriate interventions on the basis of type of flora and weed growth stage.
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GESTINF is a decision tool for postemergence weed control based on the equivalent density approach. Using observed weed densities just before treatment, the program estimates the economic return from the treatment, thus indicating whether to treat or not and, if a treatment is needed, the most economical weed control solution. Each treatment is also characterized by an environmental pollution index. GESTINF has been tested in wheat and soybeans on a farm in northeastern Italy with a total cropping area of 60 ha of wheat and 40 ha of soybean. For both crops, weed control followed the suggestions of GESTINF, whereas the remaining cropped areas were treated according to standard farm weed control practices. To compare the two weed control systems, weed control efficacy, average crop yield, and the extra time required for scouting and treatments were measured. In both crops, the treatments suggested by GESTINF showed good efficacy, and yields proved to be no different from those obtained in the fields treated with standard farm weed control practices. In most cases, GESTINF selected treatments with a lower environmental effect. The most critical point was the time required to scout the weed population that, in low-value crops or when very cheap treatments were available, reduced the weed control economic return. In wheat, GESTINF indicated that fewer fields needed to be treated than did the conventional system. However, extra costs due to both scouting and more expensive treatments balanced the savings obtained from nontreated areas. For soybean, the treatments adopted by the farm were based on a combination of pre- and postemergence practices. In this case, GESTINF identified cheaper but still efficacious treatments, significantly reducing the total cost of weed control. Nomenclature: Soybean, Glycine max (L.) Merr.; wheat, Triticum aestivum L.
Article
The highly complex knowledge of scientific disciplines makes nuanced analysis and modelling possible. However, the information produced often does not reach farmers because it is presented in a way that does not correspond to the way their work is carried out in practice. The decision support system Crop Protection Online is widely used by advisors and as a learning tool for students. Although the system has been validated in many field trials over the years and has shown reliable results, the number of end-users among farmers has been relatively low during the last 10 years (approximately 1000 farmers). A sociological investigation of farmers’ decision-making styles in the area of crop protection has shown that arable farmers can be divided into three major groups: (a) system-orientated farmers, (b) experience-based farmers and (c) advisory-orientated farmers. The information required by these three groups to make their decisions varies and therefore different ways of using decision support systems need to be provided. Decision support systems need to be developed in close dialogue and collaboration with user groups.
Article
A Danish decision support system (DSS) named Crop Protection Online (CPO) for integrated management of weeds in cereals and beet has been developed during the past 20 years. CPO is based on a model that runs in three main steps: model step 1 quantifies the level of weed control needed on a field level, model step 2 selects candidate herbicides and calculates dose rates to meet the need, and model step 3 calculates tank mixtures of herbicides with two to four mixing components, if advantageous. CPO has been developed in cereals and beet, and various prototype versions have been validated in 1679 field tests. CPO secured yield potentials, and the level of residual weeds was not increased when compared with reference treatments. The potential of CPO to reduce herbicide use has been observed in all model crops, but the potential was greatest in cereals. In spring cereal field trials highly infested with weeds, the present version of CPO suggested 35% of one full herbicide dose on average and in winter cereals CPO suggested 44% on average of one full dose. The results from validation trials demonstrate that CPO is capable of suggesting robust treatment options with a low input of herbicides. The system architecture of CPO has been exported to Poland and the Baltic countries, and the system is expected to be suitable for export to other countries too.
Article
The aim of this research was to improve the advice given by extension institutions to French farmers and to develop a Decision Support System (DSS) for weed control that would match the practical approach adopted by farmers. Farmers running 15 farms with different farming systems in different regions completed comprehensive interviews which allowed them to explain how they deal with weeds. We built temporal diagrams for crop management sequences and decision making. This paper describes the basic framework common to all the farmers interviewed. Each farmer employed pre-established weed control programmes. When designing these programmes, farmers integrated different time scales: the current year, the rotation, and the long term. In the short term, they considered the risks of yield losses and/or lower harvest quality plus harvesting difficulties. In the medium term, they anticipated the risk of finding a weed species in another crop of the rotation where control would be difficult or costly, weighing the risks of yield loss against the cost and effectiveness of solutions, not only in the current crop but also in subsequent crops, so that once again, the rotation was the central focus of weed control. In the long term, their main aim was to limit the soil seed bank to an acceptable level. The farmers interviewed stated that they would continue to implement a weed control programme that they deemed satisfactory as long as no new problem appeared, and until they could learn about more effective technical solutions. When designing a DSS that will ensure successful, more sustainable weed management practices, it is crucial to take account of both the complexity of the decision-making process and the multicriteria nature of decision making.
Testing of Danish Decision Support System in Protection of winter wheat in Poland during 2001-2003
  • Jh Czembor
  • Horoszkiewicz
  • J Janka
  • Nierobca
Czembor JH, Horoszkiewicz-Janka J, Nierobca A (2003). Testing of Danish Decision Support System in Protection of winter wheat in Poland during 2001-2003. Wolffhechel, H. Proceedings of the Crop Protection Conference for The Baltic Sea Region, 28th-29th April 2003. IOR Congress Centre, Poznan, Poland, 166-174
Experience with 'Plant Protection Online' for weed control in Lithuania. Wolffhechel, H. Proceedings of the Crop Protection Conference for The Baltic Sea Region
  • A Auskalnis
Auskalnis A (2003) Experience with 'Plant Protection Online' for weed control in Lithuania. Wolffhechel, H. Proceedings of the Crop Protection Conference for The Baltic Sea Region, 28th-29th April 2003. IOR Congress Centre, Poznan, Poland, 166-174. 2003. Danish Institute of Agricultural Sciences (DIAS). DIAS Report, Plant Production no. 96.