Economics of a decision-support system for managing the main fungal diseases of winter wheat in the Grand-Duchy of Luxembourg
M. El Jarroudi, L. Kouadio, M. Beyer, J. Junk, L. Hoffmann, B. Tychon, H. Maraite, C. H. Bock, and P. Delfosse
Field Crops Research, vol. 172, pp. 32-41, 2015
We evaluated the cost effectiveness of a decision-support system (DSS) developed for assessing in real time the risk of progression of the main fungal diseases (i.e., Septoria leaf blotch, powdery mildew, leaf rusts and Fusarium head blight) of winter wheat in the Grand-Duchy of Luxembourg (GDL). The study was conducted in replicated field experiments located in four agricultural locations (representative of the main agro-ecological regions of the country) over a 10-year period (2003-2012). Three fungicide spray strategies were compared: a single DSS-based system and two commonly used spray practices in the GDL, a double- (2T) and a triple-spray (3T) treatment; there was also a non-treated control. In years with a high disease pressure, the DSS-based recommendation resulted in protection of the three upper leaves comparable to that achieved with the 2T and 3T treatments, with significant grain yield increases (. P>. 0.05) compared to the control (a 4 to 42% increase, depending on the site and year). Overall, the financial gain in treated plots compared with the control ranged from 3 to 16% at the study sites. Furthermore, in seasons when dry weather conditions precluded epidemic development, the DSS recommended no fungicide spray, reducing use of fungicide, and thus saving the cost of the product. The gain in yield for the 2T and 3T plots (compared with control) did not necessarily result in a financial gain during the duration of the experiment. This study demonstrates the potential advantages and profitability of using a DSS-based approach for disease management.