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SmartProtect: Implementing smart IPM methodologies for innovative vegetable crop protection

The considerable advances in technology over the last few decades have had an impact on many aspects of daily life, including crop protection. For the past 3 years, members of the EU SmartProtect IPM Thematic Network have been exploring the relatively new ‘Smart’ tools and technologies available to support management of pests and diseases in vegetable crops. The SmartProtect network consists of 15 partners from 12 countries, including the University of Warwick, and together we’ve considered both outdoor and protected crops. The network is coordinated by INAGRO in Belgium. We’ve focused on technologies at TRL (Technology Readiness Level) 9 i.e. available to rent or purchase, depending on the type of technology.

We’ve identified over 150 tools and technologies that are available to European growers, and information about these can be accessed from the SmartProtect platform. We’ve categorised them with regard to their function and the type of pest/pathogen they can assist with, and it’s possible to search the platform using these categories. We’ve also compared tools and techniques within the categories, by ‘benchmarking’ them using the information that companies have made available, and we’ve evaluated some of the tools ourselves within the consortium.

A good proportion of the tools fall into one of four categories:

· Application techniques

· Decision support techniques

· Diagnostics and detection techniques

· Monitoring techniques

Application techniques include methods of applying pesticides, biopesticides and biological control agents. Decision support techniques include warning systems for pests and pathogens. We’ve just published a paper on ‘diagnostic techniques’ and the monitoring techniques include the ‘Smart’ traps that several of us have been testing in the field and with growers.

You can learn more about the network and the technologies by watching recordings of two recent webinars Webinar on Smart tools for pest and disease management in outdoor vegetable crops - YouTube and Webinar on Smart Technologies for Protected Edible Crops - YouTube.

For further information please contact

Photograph of SmartProtect Team
Horizon funding statement