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Organic fruit production in humid climates of Europe: Bottlenecks and new approaches in disease and pest control


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Tamm, Lucius; Häseli, Andreas; Fuchs, Jacques G.; Weibel, Franco and Wyss, Eric (2004) Organic fruit production in humid climates of Europe: Bottlenecks and new approaches in disease and pest control. In: Bertschinger, L. and Andersson, J.D. (Eds.) ISHS Acta Horticulturae 638: XXVI International Horticultural Congress: Sustainability of Horticultural Systems in the 21st Century. Toronto, Canada. International Society for Horticultural Science. Leuven, Belgium.

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Online at: http://www.actahort.org/books/638/638_44.htm


The organic market has grown exponentially in Europe during the last ten years. However, the organic fruit industry has shown the lowest growth rates (1-5% market share) compared to other commodities. One major reason is the high production risk due to high disease and pest pressure in humid climates. Key pests and diseases in apple and pear include scab, sooty blotch, and fire blight as well as rosy apple aphid, pear sucker, and codling moth. In cherry, damages due to brown rot (Monilinia) and the cherry fruit fly make organic production almost unfeasible. In an ideal organic system, all possible measures that lead to improved stability of the system must be implemented. In fruit production, such measures include (i) use of resistant varieties (scab), (ii) active promotion of predators (rosy apple aphid), (iii) sanitation (cherry monilinia), (iv) microclimate management (planting density, covering trees), and (v) strengthening the plant self-defence system (e.g. building up of soil fertility, bio-dynamic preparations). At present, most organic orchards have been designed for conventional production and, therefore, lack most stabilising components. In consequence, organic fruit production still depends largely on direct pest and disease control methods. These include traditional pesticides such as copper, sulphur, and lime sulphur, pyrethrin, oil and soap preparations. More recently, new pest control compounds and techniques have been developed including neem products, granulosis virus, and mating disruption. New tools for disease control are less spectacular and focus on the replacement of copper (e.g. with clay powders and resistance inducers). The introduction of new equipment, materials, and Decision Support Systems (DSS) will further improve yield stability. However, other limiting factors such as weed competition, crop load regulation, and conventional market demands need innovative solutions.

EPrint Type:Book chapter
Keywords:apple, cherry, organic, cultivar, scab, brown rot, Bioobstbau, Pflanzenschutzstrategien und Epidemiologie, Pflanzenschutz Pathologie, Entomologie Obstbau
Subjects: Crop husbandry > Production systems > Fruit and berries
Crop husbandry > Crop health, quality, protection
Research affiliation: Switzerland > FiBL - Research Institute of Organic Agriculture Switzerland > Plant Protection and Biodiversity
Switzerland > FiBL - Research Institute of Organic Agriculture Switzerland > Crop Production
Switzerland > FiBL - Research Institute of Organic Agriculture Switzerland > Entomolgy
Related Links:http://www.actahort.org/books/638/index.htm, http://www.actahort.org/books/638/638_44.htm, http://www.fibl.org
Deposited By: Tamm, Dr. Lucius
ID Code:2992
Deposited On:11 Jul 2004
Last Modified:12 Apr 2010 07:29
Document Language:English
Refereed:Peer-reviewed and accepted

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