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    Designing a pan-European platform for integrated pest management decision support systems

    Implementing integrated pest management (IPM) practices to tackle pests, weeds and diseases can be a real challenge for farmers and advisers. The European Commission is funding a series of projects to develop and promote more cost-effective and sustainable IPM. IPM Decisions (Horizon 2020 Project No. 817617), led by RSK company ADAS, will focus on the use of IPM decision support systems (DSS) in Europe. These are useful tools for farmers and advisers implementing IPM.

    A diverse range of DSS for the integrated control of weeds, pests and diseases is commercially available. This includes simple treatment thresholds; forecasts of the incidence and severity of pests and diseases; and systems for controlling disease, monitoring pests and comparing treatment options. There are excellent examples of crop protection DSS that are well tested and implemented, but their user numbers are still limited. ADAS is leading a consortium of 28 European partners in a five-year project to create an online platform providing access to and promoting the use of IPM DSS across Europe.

    The project will enable farmers and advisers easily to access a large number of IPM DSS through a pan-European online platform and an associated IPM decision network that is creating a community of users and stakeholders. Access to the platform will be via a dashboard specifically tailored to user requirements. The dashboard will act as the user control panel for collating information and managing DSS applications. Farmers and advisers will benefit from a simple click-and-go platform for finding and running decision systems evaluated for their regional conditions. Access to relevant weather data will also be provided through the platform. The economic benefits from the use of each DSS and the extent of validation will be transparently presented to enable informed choices.

    This project presents many challenges, the most important being how to manage the integration of multiple services designed and developed by different partners. Even more important is ensuring that different components are correctly integrated and that new versions of the software can be released with minimal downtime. To achieve this, ADAS developers are working with their project partners to coordinate the development of the platform by using open-source technologies that will result in reduced long-term costs. Alongside this, technical experts in pest management are working to ensure that the DSS included on the platform reflect industry priorities and the value of using such systems is clear. To ensure the platform is fit for purpose, workshops are run annually with target users across Europe. During these workshops, stakeholders can provide feedback on progress made, which directly feeds into the future development of the dashboards.

    Visit the project website www.IPMDecisions.net for information on upcoming workshops, updates, and links to social media and online information.

    IPM Decisions has received funding from The European Union’s Horizon 2020 Research and Innovation Programme, under Grant Agreement No. 817617.

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