Articles | Volume 2, issue 1
22 May 2008
 | 22 May 2008

Operational application and improvements of the disease risk forecast model PROCULTURE to optimize fungicides spray for the septoria leaf blotch disease in winter wheat in Luxembourg

J. Junk, K. Görgen, M. El Jarroudi, P. Delfosse, L. Pfister, and L. Hoffmann

Abstract. The model PROCULTURE has been developed by the Université Catholique de Louvain – UCL (Belgium) to simulate the progress of the septoria leaf blotch disease on winter wheat during the cropping season. The model has been validated in Luxembourg for four years at four distinct representative sites. It is able to identify infection periods due to the causal agent Mycosphaerella graminicola on the last five leaf layers by combining meteorological data with phenological data from PROCULTURE's crop growth model component. The meteorological forcing consists of hourly time-series of air temperature, relative humidity and cumulative rainfall since the time of sowing, retrieved from automatic weather stations for hindcast and numerical weather prediction model outputs for the forecast periods. In order to improve the model, leaf wetness – which is one of the most important drivers for the spread of the disease – shall be added as an additional predictor. Therefore leaf wetness sensors were set up at four test sites during the 2007 growing season. To get a continuous spatial coverage of the country, it is planned to couple the PROCULTURE model offline to 12-hourly operational weather forecasts from an implementation of the Weather Research and Forecasting (WRF) model for Luxembourg at 1 km resolution. Because the WRF model does not provide leaf wetness directly, an artificial neural network (ANN) is used to model this parameter.