Decision-support systems (DSSs) are interactive computer-based systems that help decision makers solve unstructured problems under complex, uncertain conditions. Experimental use of DSSs has resulted in improved disease suppression and lowered risks of crop damage. In many cases, it has also led to the use of smaller quantities of active substances, as compared with standard spraying practices. Hundreds of DSSs have been developed over the years and are readily available and affordable. However, most farm managers do not use them as part of their integrated pest management (IPM) practices. Since the mid-1980s, the author of this paper, together with numerous colleagues, has developed DSSs and decision rules for the management of diseases in a variety of crops, including extensive crops, such as wheat, sunflower, and pea; semi-intensive crops, such as pear, chickpea, cotton, and tarragon; and intensive crops, such as tomato, potato, cucumber, sweet pepper, carrot, and grapevine. Some of these systems were used widely, but others were not. This experience may allow us to draw general conclusions regarding the use of DSSs and decision rules. Possible explanations for the widely varying acceptance rates are presented, and the effects of anticipated changes in the agribusiness sector on the future use of DSSs are discussed.


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  • Article Type: Review Article
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