The experience of application of a web-based decision support system in the Iberian Peninsula for the sustainable management of vineyards


Abstract: Directive 128/2009/EC on the Sustainable Use of Pesticides makes mandatory the adoption of integrated pest management (IPM) across Europe. IPM promotes low pesticide control of harmful organisms based on crop monitoring and decision support tools. The web-platform® is a Decision Support System (DSS) developed by Horta (, a spin-off company of Università Cattolica del Sacro Cuore, in Italy. The DSS is able to: i) collect multiple information/data in real-time about different vineyard components (air, soil, plants, pests, and diseases) by using the IoTs; ii) analyze these data by advanced modelling and bigdata solutions; and iii) make up-to-date information, alerts and decision supports for vineyard management. The DSS considers grapevine growth and development, risk for diseases (downy and powdery mildews, black-rot and Botrytis bunch rot) and pests (berry moth, American leafhopper and mealybugs), protection dynamics of fungicide applications, and abiotic stresses (drought, low and high temperatures). The DSS is available for Italian growers since 2013 and it is used by hundreds of farmers. Since 2015, the DSS is available also in Spain and Portugal. In this work, we show the results of two pilots implemented in Spain and Portugal, primarily for the management of downy mildew in vineyards. In Spain, the DSS was evaluated in the Penedès region (Nort-East Spain) by the regional service of plant health (SISTEMIO project). The system was tested in 18 vineyards in 2016 and 2017, by comparing the DSS output concerning the risk of Plasmopara viticola, disease development, and fungicide treatments performed by growers. The DSS was further tested in 2018 by comparing the disease development in plots treated based on® advices and in plots treated following the grower’s practice. In Portugal, the DSS was evaluated in the Alto Douro region (North Portugal) by the Association for the Development of Viticulture in the Douro Region (ADVID). The DSS was tested in two vineyards from 2016 to 2018, by comparing the DSS output with disease observations; additional tests are on-going in 4 vineyards in 2019. The results show agreement between the DSS output and vineyards’ observations, confirming that the DSS can be used for scheduling the fungicide sprays, with substantial reduction in the number of interventions.

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