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  UAL Crop Nitrogen and Irrigation Lab

The VegSyst Decision Support System (VegSyst-DSS) as a tool for management of irrigation and N fertilization

The first version of the VegSyst-DSS software is currently available; the software can be downloaded using the link on the right. There are also links for the software manual and for the climate template Excel file. A video with a demostration of the software will be available soon.

The VegSyst Decision Support System (VegSyst-DSS) has been developed to calculate daily N fertilizer and irrigation requirements, and the N concentration of the applied nutrient solution applied for fertigated vegetable crops grown in greenhouses. It can be used for crops grown in soil or substrate. N fertilizer requirements are based on daily crop N uptake and consider soil mineral N at planting, and N mineralized from manure and soil organic matter. Irrigation requirements are based on estimated evapotranspiration (ETc) and consider irrigation application efficiency and the salinity of irrigation water.  ETc can be calculated using the Penman-Monteith equation adapted to greenhouses or the Almeria radiation equation.

VegSyst-DSS has very few inputs, all of which are readily available to farmers and advisors. Data inputs are:
  • the readily available climate parameters of daily maximum and minimum air temperature and relative humidity (RH) in the the greenhouse, and solar radiation outside the greenhouse
  • the amount of soil mineral N in the root zone at planting
  • details of the most recent manure application
  • irrigation layout
  • soil characteristics
For the climate data, an internal data base of long term average climate data for Almeria can be used; there is no requirement to enter climatic data. Recommendations based on long term average climate data are suitable for climates with very low climatic variation between years such as within greenhouses in Almeria. VegSyst DSS provides a detailed science-based plan of daily N and irrigation requirements that is specific to the characteristics of an individual crop.

To fully optimize management, it is suggested that users also use monitoring methods to fine tune N and irrigation management.

VegSyst-DSS is based on the Veg-Syst crop simulation model which calculates daily crop biomass production, critical N uptake and ETc for vegetable crops. The simulation model is driven by thermal time and is adaptable to the variations in climatic conditions thereby providing N and irrigation recommendations specific to given cropping conditions such as season, time of planting, and greenhouse design and covering materials. The VegSyst-DSS assumes that crops have no water or nutrient limitations, which is almost always the case with commercial vegetable production in greenhouses.

The VegSyst-DSS software has been programmed in Visual C# using Winform visual interface with a ModernUI style; data management is done through LocalDBv.11 technology for Microsoft SQL Server 2012 Express. The software calculates daily N and irrigation requirements for greenhouse-grown tomato, sweet pepper, cucumber, melon, watermelon, zucchini, and eggplant. It also calculates the daily N concentration to apply in the applied nutrient solution and the average N concentration for four week periods.

For more information about VegSyst-DSS, for help in using it, or for comments on the material presented please contact Marisa Gallardo, Departamento de Agronomia, Universidad de Almería, 04120 Almería, Spain mgallard@ual.es


VegSyst-DSS software

Download VegSyst-DSS

VegSyst-DSS manual 

Download manual

VegSyst-DSS video demo

Download video demonstration

VegSyst-DSS climate template 

Download climate template