APPLICATION OF A DECISION SUPPORT SYSTEM FOR INCREASING ECONOMIC AND ENVIRONMENTAL SUSTAINABILITY OF PROCESSING TOMATO CULTIVATED IN MEDITERRANEAN CLIMATE
Aims of the present study were to assess economic and environmental sustainability and promote the use of alternative technologies, such as decision support systems (DSS), for crop fertigation management. The fertigation management as proposed by the DSS Fertirrigere has been compared with the cropping practices of local growers (Tuscany, Italy). Growers carried out irrigation and fertilisation as usual, while a neighbouring field was managed by Fertirrigere. DSS application increased the mean production albeit without significant statistical effects, while significantly decreased the use of fertilizers and water. Therefore, water and nutrient use efficiency of the crop were significantly improved. The computation of water footprint showed a reduced environmental impact and higher sustainability of crops fertigated with Fertirrigere as compared to the local growers practices. The overall use of water resources and fertilisers resulted more efficient when applying the DSS: nitrogen use efficiency increased up to 102.4%, water use efficiency up to 21.1% and the total crop water footprint decreased 11.5 m3 t-1 (27.3%), on average. Furthermore, DSS management increased the yield value while decreased the cropping costs thus resulting in an higher average net income of about 700 euro ha-1.
Massa, D., Incrocci, L., Pardossi, A., Delli Paoli, P. and Battilani, A. (2013). APPLICATION OF A DECISION SUPPORT SYSTEM FOR INCREASING ECONOMIC AND ENVIRONMENTAL SUSTAINABILITY OF PROCESSING TOMATO CULTIVATED IN MEDITERRANEAN CLIMATE. Acta Hortic. 971, 51-58
Solanum lycopersicum, fertigation, nutrient and water use efficiency, water foot print, plant nutrition