Working Group 4 (WG4): Decision Support Systems – Advantages and constraints
The first year of FruitCREWS COST Action in WG4 focused on building a database of existing Decision Support Tools (DSTs). This was initialized via a questionnaire sent to FruitCREWS members and their colleagues and networks. The purpose of the questionnaire was to identify existing fruit tree crops (focusing on the six crops of interest to the action: vineyards, apples, pears, peaches, olives, kiwifruit) DSTs. The information requested was designed to enable overview of each DST, to categorize them (by crop, methods, platform, type of input data, and output product), and to begin evaluation (usefulness, reliability, actual usage).
The questionnaire generated 52 responses from which 20 different relevant DSTs form irrigation of fruit tree crops were identified and collected. We have additionally added DSTs discovered from internet searches and direct contact with commercial operators in the industry. This has generated an additional 17 DSTs. We are now organizing the DST dataset in order to facilitate categorization and evaluation.
The WG met online several times over the last year. The initial purpose of the meetings was to familiarize the members with one another and regarding the WG and its objectives. From these meetings sub-groups of more dedicated and active members were created to actively work on:
a) living labs (with WG5);
b) the DST collection and
c) literature review.
At the first annual FruitCREWS meeting in Bertinoro, Italy, WG4 organized lightning presentations of 11 DSTs that are either built or used by members of FruitCREWS. These short overview talks illustrated the kind of tools available and illuminated their potential as well as the challenges involved in their use and adoption. The talks were followed by a fruitful discussion by the entire audience at the annual meeting.
WG4 has not been the topic of STSMs or workshops. We do plan to be actively part of a FruitCREWS dissemination workshop/event, including interaction with companies offering DSTs, and discussion of challenges they are facing, that will occur during the European Horticulture Congress in Bucharest in May 2024.