Decision Support Systems in viticulture and olive growing

Decision Support Systems (DSSs) are information systems supporting the crop manager (extension agents, consultants or growers) in the decision-making process. DSSs can support both strategic and tactical decisions related to the crop. Strategic decisions are those affecting the entire life cycle of a crop, while tactical decisions are those which effect is generally limited to the current season, such as crop protection, fertilisation, irrigation and fertigation, canopy management, harvest and yield forecasting. DSSs integrate several information sources, collecting, analysing and interpreting the information in order to recommend the most appropriate action, by mean of expert knowledge, mathematical models and timely data. DSSs need to have a user-friendly interface and need to be flexible enough to deal with a range of issues faced during the standard crop management.

The DSS has to share a continuous flow of information with the users because it needs to:
– Collect environmental and crop data in real time, by mean of a network of sensors (proximal or remote), monitoring tools and IoT (Internet of Things) technologies;

– Organise data in a cloud system, and analyse them by mean of modelling and big data techniques;

– Automatically integrate the output of the analysis with expert knowledge, thus producing information, alarms and decision support on all the aspects of crop management;

– Collect data on crop operations performed in field to inform subsequent decisions and calculate agronomic and sustainability indicators.