Integrated Pest Information Platform for Extension and Education

Place: Pennsylvania, united-states, North America
Quantitative & qualitative enhancement of crop products Quantitative & qualitative enhancement of crop products
Total Budget: € 315.000,00 | Period: From August 2012 To


The Integrated Pest Information Platform for Extension and Education (iPiPE) has been developed as a collaborative effort between academia, Penn State College of Agricultural Sciences, private sector, ZedX, Inc. and grower association, United Soybean Board, to provide a user-friendly access to an early warning system for key pests affecting agriculture and forestry worldwide.
The models utilize weather data plus local observations from researchers, local growers, and specialists, which are then processed to predict important events in crop, insect, and disease development cycles. The output are colorful, easy-to-read maps of the development and significance of diseases, insects, weeds, and crop conditions for the entire United States and other parts of the world.
A model is being added to forecast and manage virus infections in wheat and barley, in collaboration with IPSP, Italy.
The whole system is intended to make easier the monitoring and control of key insects, diseases, and crops.


The Pennsylvania State University, College of Agricultural Sciences - United States

Lead applicant

Penn State has twenty-four campuses in Pennsylvania; 17,000 faculty and staff; 100,000 students; a teaching hospital that provides care to more than a million patients a year; over one-half million active alumni; an online World Campus that empowers anyone to pursue an education—anytime, anywhere; and the largest student-run philanthropic organization on the planet. The university is proud to teach students that the real measure of success is what you do to improve the lives of others, and they learn to be hard-working leaders with a global perspective. It conducts research to improve lives. It adds millions to the economy through projects in the state and beyond. it helps communities by sharing our faculty expertise and research. The students are supportred in many ways, including advising and counseling services for school and life; diversity and inclusion services; social media sites; safety services; and emergency assistance. Penn State network of more than a half-million alumni is accessible to students when they want advice and to learn about job networking and mentor opportunities as well as what to expect in the future. Through its alumni, Penn State lives all over the world. Its students, faculty, staff, alumni, and friends in communities near our campuses and across the globe are dedicated to education and fostering a diverse and inclusive environment. The diversity of its students and faculty creates an exciting mix of cultures. And you can discover even more diversity by participating in educational opportunities across the globe. Penn State follows a set of principles to keep everyone consistent in the way we conduct ourselves as we go about living in our campus communities. The College of Agricultural Sciences includes 9 academic departments, which provide research, teaching, and extension support in the animal, plant, food, engineering, environmental, social, and business management sciences. Penn State Extension, present in every county, delivers University’s resources and expertise directly to individuals, families, businesses, and communities, and works to assess and address the social, educational, and physical needs of citizens throughout the state. The College of Agricultural Sciences invests nearly $97 million in research and graduate study yearly. About 80 percent of the college's undergraduates come from non-agricultural backgrounds. The first of the colleges established at Penn State, the College of Agricultural Sciences awarded the nation’s first baccalaureate degrees in agriculture in 1861. The only land-grant institution in Pennsylvania, Penn State became one of the nation's very first when President Abraham Lincoln signed the Morrill Act into law in 1862. Enrollment: Approximate total college undergraduate: 3,000; approximate college undergraduate enrollment at University Park campus: 2,100; approximate college graduate student enrollment: 580. The college has one of Penn State's largest scholarship programs, awarding $2 million annually. College of Ag Sciences latest strategic plan includes programmatic priorities and initiatives to meet our goals and enhance the overall educational experience.

ZedX.inc - United States

Initiative partner

For over twenty-five years, ZedX has developed state-of-the-art information technologies and agricultural and climatological decision support systems for agricultural business intelligence throughout the world.. ZedX's success is built on a strong research and development capability, reliable information, innovative technologies, and a strong commitment to customer service. ZedX's research, product development, and software-as-service (SAS) paradigm has have been the framework for a wide range of interactive, web-based, decision-support tools designed for the agricultural, energy, environmental, and risk sectors. Our agricultural and climatological intelligence and analytics tools support strategic and tactical decisions across the entire agricultural supply chain. ZedX's highly successful "design it, build it, support it" business model has made the company a leader in the agricultural intelligence technology arena. Open-source solutions and compatibility with other data management software are guiding principles in ZedX product and service design. The company works through some of the largest and most successful agricultural entities to deliver these highly effective and popular tools.

United Soybean Board - United States

Initiative partner

The 70 volunteer farmer-directors of the United Soybean Board oversee national soy checkoff investments to maximize profit opportunities for all U.S. soybean farmers. They leverage checkoff funds within the four strategic areas they have identified as central to the success of the U.S. soy industry. - See more at: http://unitedsoybean.org/about-usb/how-we-work-for-farmers/#sthash.iPiPMDfh.dpuf

Institute for Sustainable Plant Protection -National Research Council - Italy

Initiative partner

The Institute for Sustainable Plant Protection (IPSP) of the Italian National Council (CNR) was formed on May 1st, 2014, by the merging of the formers Institute for Plant Protection (IPP) and Institute of Plant Virology (IVV). The mission of IPSP The mission of IPSP is to study biotic and abiotic stress in plants, how stress impacts on plants, and how plants respond to it. Research investigates the mechanism of resistance, the process of adaptation, and the defense reaction, with the aim of contributing to sustainable and environmentally-friendly practices in plant protection. IPSP activities focus on the protection and valorization of plants of agricultural and forestry interest, the strengthening of natural antagonists for the bio-control of pests and pathogens, the improvement of qualitative and quantitative traits of agricultural plant productions, the assistance in selection and regeneration of germplasm of agricultural interest, the characterization and production of active bio-molecules of agro-industrial interest. Attention is also paid to studies that could help to mitigate the impact of climate change on crops. The main research themes of the new institute, directed by Dr G.P. Accotto, are: 1. Biotic and abiotic stress, plant defense and adaptation mechanisms; 2. Plant disease interactions with other organisms and the surrounding environment; 3. Genetic, epigenetic and molecular approaches to study the biodiversity of the microorganisms that support and protect plants; 4. Diagnosis for plant protection; 5. Sustainable technologies for plant protection. The IPSP has over 50 full time permanent researchers out of a staff of 100 people. The IPSP has its headquarter in Torino, where the former Institute of Plant Virology was, and supporting research units in a different location in Torino, in Florence, in Portici (Napoli) and in Bari. The Institute belongs to the Agricultural and Food Department of the Italian National Research Council (CNR). The IPSP head quarter is located in Torino and has supporting units in Torino, Florence, Bari and Portici (NA)

Models have been developed in order to provide an early warning system for key pests attacking crops. The models are accessible through a website and provide information in the form of landscape maps that allow users to see patterns of change over time and space. The user, watching these changes in values relative to the location of interest, can easily identify "windows" of opportunity during which to make a decision or take an action. This gives an opportunity both to increase the productivity, by reducing costs or increasing yield, and to reduce the environmental impact of agriculture.

A new service has been developed to promote the exchange of pest data among agricultural professionals. It is an information technology platform that provides tools and models for managing and analyzing data in order to give support for commercial agricultural decision making. The iPiPE brings together crop consultants, extension, industry, federal, and state partners by allowing the exchange of pest observations while protecting client privacy.  The iPiPE supports easy-to-use data collection applications for mobile devices, such as smartphones and tablets.  These applications are available for Android and iPhone operating systems. The iPiPe outputs facilitate the monitoring of pest spread and timely decision making in all facets of crop production.  The iPiPE allows for the real-time tracking of invasive species and emerging pests. Aerobiological models exist for selected pests important to seed production, such as Goss’ wilt, cereal rusts, and southern corn rust amongst others.

Downy_Mildew 2014_07_31 The map represents the disease severity of grape Downy Mildew in each Pennsylvania county, at the resolution of 5 km, on the 31st of July, 2014. The map does not indicate that Grape Downy Mildew disease is present at a given location, but that conditions are favorable for disease development if inoculum is present.
General appearance of an output The basic ipipe design, including geographic information system (GIS) tools, scalable landscape maps with land cover, crop, and custom overlays, data tree and filters, and sources weather and pest model output.
Soybean aphid 2014_07_31 This map represents the developmental stage of soybean aphids in each Pennsylvania county, at the resolution of 5 km, on the 31st of July, 2014

The importance of IPM to grow healthy crops with the least possible disruption to agro-ecosystems can hardly be emphasized. This implies the development of somewhat sophisticated computer and decision support technologies. But adoption of the technology by growers, extension educators, and consultants is based on access conditions that drive end-users to first try technology, and then the stay engaged with it, particularly if they can feel an active part of it, by sharing information. The adoption of a technology requires an investment on the part of the end-user in time and money, even in a modern agriculture context. Users will not be attracted to a technology that is overly complex, difficult to use, or appears short-lived. Most IPM technologies are developed in universities, that can hardly maintain a service once its research and education value has been exhausted. A partnership with the private sector, which is motivated to deliver services on a long-term basis, is necessary.

iPiPe as a third generation of platform iPiPE has been developed as a third generation information technology (IT) platform that evolved out of NAPPFAST and the ipmPIPE, allowing end-users to share information with other users, for a better pest management.

The coordinated efforts by federal and state agencies, stakeholders, and the agricultural industry to combat agricultural pests and pathogens saved North American soybean farmers over $600 million between 2006 and 2011 in unnecessary fungicide costs, thereby reducing chemical exposure to the environment and food supply, and diminishing apprehension within the soybean industry.
From 2006 to 2010, the ipmPIPE expanded to include monitoring programs focused on soybean aphid, diseases of common beans, downy mildew of cucurbits, pecan nut casebearer, southern corn rust, and onion pests. Sites in Canada and Mexico were added to the monitoring network. More than 90% of 361 Certified Crop Advisors who responded to a survey in 2008 indicated that they felt “somewhat” to “very” confident in the information obtained from the ipmPPIPE platform.
The public interface of the ipmPIPE platform had over 1,080,000 visits and 14,600,000 hits from 2005 through 2013.

Total visits and hits for the public interface of the ipmPIPE platform Total visits and hits for the public interface of the ipmPIPE platform from 2005 through 2013.

Farmers in industrialized countries on both sides of the Atlantic have to cope with growing yield demands, challenging climatic changes, and sustainability of agricultural technologies. It is therefore clear that growers need real-time, information-based data to facilitate crop management, and they need to get this information in an easy, accessible way, tailored to the precise area where their crops are. Moreover, farmers feel the need of help for accessing the technology and for a long-term service whose beneficial effects can last well after the duration of the initial project. The iPiPE is designed to enhance integrated pest management (IPM) and food security by altering “social” conditions through the use of cyberage technology. This enhancement is accomplished by creating a “culture” that places high value on real-time sharing of pest observations and information among producers and their crop consultants.

Support was given by the Directors of the Experiment Station Section of Association of Public and Land-grant Universities and the USDA National Institute of Food and Agriculture. Personnel that continue to be involved and instrumental in the success of pest monitoring and management include: farmers, current and retired Extension personnel, university support staff, consultants, and field service representatives. Table 1-2 and Figures 4-6 below identify some of the people that have contributed to the ipmPIPE through the years, and the numbers of persons involved. Funding and support have come from the United States Department of Agriculture, United Soybean Board, North Central Soybean Research Program, the Grain Farmers of Ontario, and many additional local Qualified State Support Boards.

Ed Sikora scouting for soybean rust Ed Sikora scouting for soybean rust (Photo courtesy of Ed Sikora). It is these scouting efforts by cooperators that are critical to the success of the system.
Meeting of extension personnel Meeting of extension personnel from across three states to discuss the inclusion of peanut iPiPE.
Participants in a soybean rust identification workshop Participants in a soybean rust identification workshop in Quincy,Fl. More than 700 people were trained over 8 years.
../file-system/small/pdf ../file-system/small/pdf Number of persons involved in the ipm program Table 2. The numeber of persons involved in the ipm program over the years
../file-system/small/pdf ../file-system/small/pdf Persons who contributed People contributing to ipm program over trhe years

Changing an engrained culture is not easy and often slow. It must be done incrementally and include many incentives. The iPiPE is designed to deliver data and products in user-friendly formats and a timely manner. These data and products can support agricultural stakeholders making their jobs easier and more efficient. As with any new technology, especially one as innovative as iPiPE, there will be the challenge of making individuals aware of system capabilities along with training on how to use them. Accordingly, outreach becomes critical to obtaining new users or new sectors of users. This can be accomplished in variety of means, including traditional meetings and conferences, publications, and social media. In addition, a business model needs to be developed to sustain the IT infrastructure, including data acquisition, data quality control, model construction, web site design and maintenance, smartphone applications, and customer service.

It is estimated that ipmPIPE saved North American soybean farmers over $600 million between 2006 and 2011 in unnecessary fungicide costs, thereby reducing chemical exposure to the environment and food supply. Furthermore, by conducting field plots of fungicide efficacy, the disease management guidelines can be developed based on observed and forecasted disease levels in the field.

Soybean plots for fungicide efficacy trias Example of field plots set up for fungicide efficacy trials to determine effective rate, timing and number of applications needed to protect soybean against Phakopsora pachyrhizi.

The iPiPE offers a number of tools for scheduling the delivery of products according to user-defined intervals. Smartphone applications for collecting crop and pest observations and for delivering products work on different mobile devices. The iPiPE can send alerts, commentaries, and other information to users in a timely manner.

Online signup form An online signup form for users to receive alerts about the presence of soybean rust

University Extension specialists, researchers, IPM Centres have developed many educational materials that have assisted farmers in identifying and managing soybean rust (Figures 9-10). These include scouting videos and DVDs, field disease identification cards printed in English, Spanish, and French, and numerous national or state-based fact sheets on the disease. The Extension product that has likely had the greatest impact is the Using Foliar Fungicides to Manage Soybean Rust manual (http://oardc.osu.edu/soyrust/). This book compiled the current knowledge on. To date, more than 200,000 copies of this manual have been distributed in the United States, Canada, and Mexico. This book also served as one of the precursors of the new APS Press book, Fungicides for Field Crops. Extension personnel have conducted training sessions with on the use and benefits of the ipmPIPE, and, more recently, the iPiPE.  Information on the iPIPE has been distributed at APS, ESA, and NAICC meetings.

Brochures and pamphlets on soybean rust Brochures and pamphlets on soybean rust management.
Users can access online training videos about IPM programs Users can access online training videos about IPM programs
iPiPE brochure distributed at user meetings iPiPE brochure distributed at user meetings
iPiPE display created for the NAICC meeting in January, 2011. iPiPE display created for the NAICC meeting in January, 2011.