On Thursday 15th April 2021, the University of Thessaly organised an on-farm meeting for researchers, technicians, advisors and stakeholders at their greenhouse facilities at Velestino, Greece. Here they presented work on the development of a web-based Decision Support System (DSS) for the control of Botrytis disease on greenhouse tomato crops.
Participants had the opportunity to find out about this alternative approach to indirectly control Botrytis disease, employing new technologies for disease control in greenhouses. The development of Botrytis has been correlated to the microclimate conditions surrounding the crop. The concept of the system is to estimate in advance the risk for disease development, using web-based software to predict microclimate conditions in the near future that favour the disease. Then, the DSS advises greenhouse managers and growers to take action to alter the conditions to avoid development of the disease or if absolutely necessary, to apply the proper permitted plant protection products. In this way, using preventive farm management methods, growers can reduce the number of fungicide applications and production costs, without compromising disease control or yields.
Participants greatly enjoyed their visit to the high-tech greenhouses of the University of Thessaly at Velestino, Greece, where they experienced the setup of the DSS system under development. They were able to find out about the sensors and weather stations collecting and uploading microclimate data to the software, and were given a real time presentation of the DSS operating online in greenhouses with hydroponically cultivated tomatoes.