Background: Integrated pest management (IPM) decision-making has become more information intensive in Washington State tree crops in response to changes in pesticide availability, the development of new control tactics (such as mating disruption) and the development of new information on pest and natural enemy biology. The time-sensitive nature of the information means that growers must have constant access to a single source of verified information to guide management decisions.
Results: The authors developed a decision support system for Washington tree fruit growers that integrates environmental data [140 Washington State University (WSU) stations plus weather forecasts from NOAA], model predictions (ten insects, four diseases and a horticultural model), management recommendations triggered by model status and a pesticide database that provides information on non-target impacts on other pests and natural enemies. A user survey in 2008 found that the user base was providing recommendations for most of the orchards and acreage in the state, and that users estimated the value at $ 16 million per year.
Conclusions: The design of the system facilitates education on a range of time-sensitive topics and will make it possible easily to incorporate other models, new management recommendations or information from new sensors as they are developed.