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ARS Home » Pacific West Area » Davis, California » Crops Pathology and Genetics Research » Research » Research Project #435314

Research Project: Development of Web-based Decision Support Systems to Improve Crop Management Decisions

Location: Crops Pathology and Genetics Research

Project Number: 2032-21220-007-20-S
Project Type: Non-Assistance Cooperative Agreement

Start Date: Sep 15, 2018
End Date: Mar 31, 2020

Objective:
Full title: Development of Web-based Decision Support Systems to Improve Crop Management Decisions and Reduce Agricultural Risks Associated with Climate Variability and Climate Change Objectives: Initiate the development or extension of a web based decision support framework similar to the Northwest Climate Tool box or AgroClimate.org team. Each of these web-based platforms is an innovative web-resource compendium for decision-support and learning. The proposed platform for California specialty crops will provide interactive tools and climate information to improve crop management decisions and reduce production risks associated with climate variability and climate change. This effort has been quite successful in both the Pacific Northwest as well as the Southeastern U.S. and to the best of our knowledge nothing similar to this exists in California. We are proposing to initiate this effort with few specialty crops, to take advantage of existing, on-going and planned efforts in California. Although, this approach would be focused on selected specialty crops, overall proposed approach could potentially be expanded to include annual cropping systems, should that be identified as a critical need in future years.

Approach:
The proposed platform for California specialty crops will provide interactive tools and climate information to improve crop management decisions and reduce production risks associated with climate variability and climate change. This project will be conducted through two phases. The first phase of this project will include an assessment of California perennial specialty crop growers' climate information needs, access to current information and interests for additional specific resources and products. It will also identify concerns on using climate-based decision support tools for managing their farms. We will conduct one-on-one and small group interviews with clientele groups. We will target growers of high valued specialty crops who make critical decisions for their farms, crop consultants and members of the commodity board commission who provide technical advice to growers. Through interactive sessions with these clientele groups, we will obtain better understanding of the use and value of weather and climate information for agricultural decision-making, desired lists of tools and framework, and limitation and/or constraints utilizing these tools. The second phase of this project will include working with programmers to develop prototype tools that incorporates growers' needs for weather and climate tools to allow for short and long-term strategic decisions. We will start developing the prototype for one or two top priority tools for specific crop(s) based on stakeholder inputs received from the first phase. The next step will be to reconnect with the same groups of clientele described in phase 1 and demonstrate these prototypic tools to gather their perspectives on the effectiveness of these tools, usability, specific aspects of tools that need improvements and prioritization of tools to develop in later phases of this project.