Weather-based pest forecasting for efficient crop protection
Although insects, pathogens, mites, nematodes, weeds, vertebrates, and arthropods are different in many ways, they are regarded as pests. They are a major constraint to crop productivity and profitability around the world caused by direct and indirect damage to valuable crops. Insect pests, pathogens, and weeds account for an estimated 45% of pre- and post-harvest losses worldwide (Pimentel, 1991), in addition to losses caused by vertebrate pests (Strand, 2000). Each year, farmers are confronted with several questions and uncertainties on how best to manage potential threats posed by pests to valuable crops, particularly when a significant amount of resources is committed to cultivation and production process, in expectation of profitable yields.