The advantage of Decision Support System for managing spring barley disease in Estonia
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A Decision Support System (DSS) I - Taimekaitse focusing on use of timely applied and reduced fungicide rates in control of cereal diseases has been tested in field trials since 2003 . We compared the conventional treatment and the DSS - based spray practices in 18 field trials in five agricultural locations over 7 - year period. Efficacy of the control of net blotch caused by Pyrenophora teres (Drechsler, am Drechlera teres Sacc. Shoem), the main fungal disease in spring barley has been tested to determine the economic advantage of DSS use. Compared with the conventional spray practices, the advantage I - Taimekaitse resulted in reduction of application doses by 30 to 60% of the registered rate. According to I - Taimekaitse , the fungicides were applied mainly between heading and flowering growth stages (GS 55 – 65), whereas traditional routine spraying is commonly made at booting (GS 37 – 49) . The experiment clarifies the cost - benefit of using DSS - based approach in barley disease management with average yield increase above the control in 12.8% and above the conventional treatment in 14.1%. I - Taimekaitse gave competitive disease control and average yield output reduction compared with conventional practice by 9%. In general the Treatment Frequency Index applied in conventional treatment was 0.65 and in DSS 0.41. Although the cost of treatment expense in DSS was 20% less compared with conv entional practice, the performance of conventional used spray practices was outstanding in economic return.