VIPS – warning and prognoses of pests and diseases in Norway
Abstract: VIPS (Varsling Innen PlanteSkadegjørere) is a web-based decision support system designed to assist Norwegian growers in the management of pests, diseases and weeds of cereals, vegetables and fruit crops. VIPS was established in 2001 as a collaborative project between Bioforsk and Norwegian Agricultural Extension Service (NAES) under a government-funded action for reducing risk connected to the use of pesticides. The aim of VIPS is to provide information to advisors and farmers to reduce reliance on pesticides.Inputs to the forecasting models are weather data from the Bioforsk Agrometeorological Service consisting of a network of more than 80 automatic weather stations across crop production areas, weather forecasts from the Norwegian Meteorological Institute and biological/field observations collected by NAES. A general interface is used for all models incorporated in the system, allowing new models to be easily implemented. During the growing season the monitoring of several pests and diseases are recorded through a message system in VIPS. Included in VIPS is also a programme to assess the need for control of weeds in cereal fields (choice of herbicide(s) and calculation of doses). The service is open and free of charge at www.vips-landbruk.no. Warnings are also available as sms messages.Current development aims at transferring the service from weatherstation-based to farm-based pest forecasts. Use of radar measurements of precipitation in combination with interpolation of the other weather factors from the nearest weather stations is expected to improve precision in the pest forecasts as well as farmers “ownership” of the information presented.