As originally appeared in, Pacific Northwest Ag Network - 11th August 2021, Interview with Dr. David Crowder.
In an effort to help tree fruit growers save on their operating costs, 15 years ago Washington state University rolled out the Decision Aid System. And in that time, the digital Ag tool has become a platform for tree fruit growers, and now potato growers, to stay up to date on real-time weather, disease pressures and help make effective operational decisions. Dr. David Crowder heads DAS, and he noted over the past 15 years they’ve worked with entomologists, horticulturalists, university researchers and farmers across the state and British Columbia.
“Where are your pain points in terms of making decisions? Where are you losing money? Where would more real time information help you make more effective and profitable decisions? And so the system has kind of evolved with that back-and-forth with the real growers on the ground who are giving us feedback kind of all the time.”
Crowder noted that DAS is currently used on over 90% of tree fruit acres across Washington, and they’ve recently expanded to the potato industry. He added all of that data has helps tree fruit growers save a lot of money.
“[They] said it saves them between $75 and $100 an acre and if you scale that up to all of the acreage in Washington and Canada that we service we’re probably saving the growers $20-$25 million a year in reduce pesticide costs and more effective pest management.”
Crowder noted surveys of the potato industry show growers save roughly $60 an acre. Now, Crowder noted, WSU is working to provide DAS for growers across the entire Pacific Northwest.
Learn more about Tree Fruit DAS here.
Learn more about Potato DAS here.