A plant-level, spatial, bioeconomic model of plant disease diffusion and control: Grapevine leafroll disease

Shady S. Atallah, Miguel I. Gómez, Jon M. Conrad, Jan P. Nyrop

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Grapevine leafroll disease threatens the economic sustainability of the grape and wine industry in the United States and around the world. This viral disease reduces yield, delays fruit ripening, and affects wine quality. Although there is new information on the disease spatial-dynamic diffusion, little is known about profit-maximizing control strategies. Using cellular automata, we model the disease spatial-dynamic diffusion for individual plants in a vineyard, evaluate nonspatial and spatial control strategies, and rank them based on vineyard expected net present values. Nonspatial strategies consist of roguing and replacing symptomatic grapevines. In spatial strategies, symptomatic vines are rogued and replaced, and their nonsymptomatic neighbors are virus-tested, then rogued and replaced if the test is positive. Both nonspatial and spatial classes of strategies are formulated and examined with and without considering vine age. We find that spatial strategies targeting immediate neighbors of symptomatic vines dominate nonspatial strategies, increasing the vineyard expected net present value by 18% to 19% relative to the strategy of no disease control. We also find that age-structured disease control is preferred to non-age-structured control but only for nonspatial strategies. Sensitivity analyses show that disease eradication is possible if either the disease transmission rate or the virus undetectability period is substantially reduced.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)199-218
Number of pages20
JournalAmerican Journal of Agricultural Economics
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 1 2015
Externally publishedYes


  • Bioeconomic models
  • Cellular automata
  • Computational methods
  • Disease control
  • Grapevine leafroll disease
  • Spatial-dynamic processes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Agricultural and Biological Sciences (miscellaneous)
  • Economics and Econometrics


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