20 April 2015

The Pameseb network: automatic agricultural weather stations for integrated pest management in Wallonia

With its 29 automatic agricultural weather stations, the Pameseb network records and distributes weather data that have been validated for agricultural warning systems. At a time when environmental considerations are increasingly guiding choices in terms of agricultural practices, this network is set to play a vital part in establishing Wallonia’s agricultural sector in a sustainable process, in line with the targets set by Wallonia and Europe.

Integrated pest management, long advocated by CRA-W, became a legal obligation in Wallonia on 1 January 2014, pursuant to a European Directive. Within this new legal framework a number of measures are recommended in order to limit the use of chemical plant protection products. Warnings for farmers figure prominently on the list. Recommendations are based in particular on pest development forecasting models, with the ultimate aim of applying plant protection treatments judiciously rather than systematically, to avoid unnecessary treatments.  To ensure that the recommendations made to farmers are relevant it is essential for these models to be supplied with appropriate, reliable meteorological data.

The Pameseb network was established twenty-five years ago and became part of CRA-W in January 2015. It has extensive experience of recording, transmitting, validating and distributing meteorological data. The 29 automatic agricultural weather stations scattered throughout Wallonia measure air temperature and humidity, precipitation, soil temperature at the surface and at a depth of 20 cm, wind speed and direction, sunshine and leaf wetness. The data recorded are automatically sent to a central system for validation before being supplied to various decision support systems.

This system currently provides hourly measurements every day to the Late Blight and Septoria warning services set up for integrated pest management of potato late blight and wheat septoria leaf blotch. In addition to these long-standing partnerships, fresh requests are coming in from the industry to use the data produced by the Pameseb network to support existing tools or as input for new decision support systems in areas like market gardening or horticulture.

A meteorological observation network also has other potential applications in fertilisation management, irrigation advice, parasitism management on livestock farms and precision agriculture, all of which are research fields for CRA-W. Integration of the Pameseb network has given CRA-W an essential tool to support its research and help to establish Wallonia’s agricultural sector in a sustainable process

For further information visit www.pameseb.be

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