in HortScience
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  • 1 102, Tyson Building, Penn State University, University Park, PA 16802

Apple orchards are highly diversified and complex ecological and economic systems. Production is affected by a wide range of insects, diseases, weeds, and mammalian pests. The incidence of these pests is often dependant upon climatological effects; and the microclimate within orchards. An expert system, a form of artificial intelligence, has been developed and commercially released to apple growers that utilizes weather data to make recommendations regarding production decisions. Users of the system are instructed on how to establish a weather station, and to collect, and input weather data from the farm. The information is utilized to calculate disease infection periods and pesticide residues to arrive at a control recommendation. Other weather dependant modules include the scheduling of trickle irrigation as well as water application rates during a frost. An interactive demonstration of the system will be presented to the group.