Research project OPTimised Integrated Pest Management for precise detection and control of plant diseases in perennial crops and open-field vegetables

Complete OPTIMA
Optima logo with graphic of a plant being sprayed

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General introduction

More than 20 European partners work together on the Horizon2020 project OPTIMA to develop environmentally friendly sustainable crop protection strategies for 3 typical European crop types: orchards, vineyards and field vegetables. A fully developed IPM (Integrated Pest Management) plan assumes a holistic approach, in which recognition of diseases, prevention, warning, the development of biological crop protection agents and precision spraying techniques fit together as puzzle pieces. The role of ILVO in the consortium is to work with a Spanish and an Italian equipment manufacturer of smart sprayers so that they can stand the test of 'precision farming'.

Research approach

This project will (1) Optimize plant disease prediction models and develop advanced early disease detection methods, (2) Evaluate and screen biological and synthetic PPPs and assess plant and pathogen resistance mechanisms for successful disease control, (3) Enhance and develop innovative precision spraying technologies, (4) Test and evaluate the proposed new IPM elements under field conditions, (5) Assess health, environmental and socioeconomic impacts and risks of the proposed IPM system.

Three sample crops are selected: apples, grapes and carrots. The overall project has the following work packages to (1) build and optimize prediction models on the relevant plant diseases and to develop advanced early disease detection methods, (2) evaluate and screen biological and synthetic plant protection products and evaluate mechanisms for resistance of plants and pathogens for successful disease control, (3) improve and develop innovative precision spray technologies, (4) combine, test and evaluate the proposed new IPM elements under field conditions, (5) identify health, environmental and socio-economic impacts and also the risks of the proposed IPM systems. As mentioned above, ILVO mainly brings its (top) expertise in the field of smart spraying technology.


Everywhere in the world agriculture is still largely dependent on synthetic crop protection agents (PPP) to control the various and ever-changing plant diseases and thus to support predictable productivity. This project contributes to reducing the negative impact of PPPs.