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Current use and legal status of crop protection inputs

Katsoulas, Nikolaos; Løes, Anne-Kristin; Andrivon, Didier; Cirvilleri, Gabriella; de Cara, Manuel; Kir, Alev; Knebl, Lucas; Malinska, Krystyna; Oudshoorn, Frank; Raskin, Ben and Schmutz, Ulrich (2018) Current use and legal status of crop protection inputs. Deliverables from the Organic PLUS project: Pathways to phase-out contentious inputs from organic agriculture in Europe, Deliverable, no. 3.1, Version 1.1. Coventry University, Coventry, UK.

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Summary

This deliverable presents the results of the survey carried out in the frame of Tasks 3.1. and Task 5.1 in the Horizon 2020 Project Organic PLUS. A common table/questionnaire for both tasks was used in order to map the use of contentious inputs linked to plant protection (mainly Cu, S and mineral oils), and the use of peat, plastic and fertilisers used in growing, in 10 countries participating in Organic-PLUS (Denmark, France, Germany, Greece, Italy, Norway, Poland, Spain, Turkey and UK). The survey was carried out mainly by interviewing one to three experienced advisors per crop, asking them to fill in a table describing a typical organic production of the relevant crop, emphasising the use of various inputs. In some cases the survey was based on already available data of the Organic-PLUS partner while an online questionnaire was also developed and used (e.g. CUT for Poland). The collected raw material is presented in a separeate report, the D3.1 Annex I.
Statistical data concerning the organic farming in the countries under study are also presented. The deliverable includes also documentation of current policies and legal status of the use of contentious plant protection products in organic farming with emphasis on potato, tomato, citrus and olive crops.
Copper-based products are used in plant protection as bactericides and fungicides. Copper is the only active ingredient with a strong antimicrobial effect and a wide range of action that is approved for use in organic farming particularly for grape, potato and apple crops. Recently, the demonstrated adverse effects on the environment (on soil organisms and auxiliary species) have led to a reduction in its use in several European countries.
The current regulation in EU related to the use of copper in organic production sets the limit of up to 6 kg copper per ha per year. For perennial crops, Member States may, by derogation, provide that the 6 kg copper limit can be exceeded in a given year provided that the average quantity actually used over a 5-year period consisting of that year and of the four preceding years does not exceed 6 kg.
Among the investigated crops (mainly citrus, olive, tomato, potato, strawberry), large amounts of copper are used mainly by Mediterranean growers in citrus, olive and potato. For crops like citrus and olives the limit of 6 kg per ha and per year may not be always respected. Tomato producers apply high amounts of copper in winter crops (greenhouses). In the case of Norway, the use of copper and mineral oil were not permitted for organic growing until March 2017, when the EC regulations were implemented. However, the national limit for copper in Norway is 4 kg per ha and year, thus it is easier for these growers to comply with lower limits of copper use than those in EU.
In Denmark, copper is not used in organic agriculture at all because national authorities have not (yet) been asked to approve any commercial product containing copper, or they have not approved it.
Many alternatives to copper are under development, but few are already available on the market, and fewer still are currently used by growers to a substantial extent. Alternatives with a low concentration of copper ion are demonstrating good levels of efficacy. Possibly, a reduction of the concentration of copper, together with more efficient formulations, could reduce the presence of copper in the crops (and soils). Nevertheless, abandoning copper cannot be easily achieved through a simple substitution strategy (for instance, replacing copper by biocontrol products); it requires a more or less profound reconstruction of the crop production system, including changing cultivars (in favour of resistant ones), developing prophylaxis and sanitation measures, adjusting fertilisation, etc. This requires an integrative approach, which is still under-developed.
Regarding sulphur, this substance is very common for organic vegetable growers, especially for greenhouse growers. The uses of sulphur can move from 10 to 100 kg/ha/year depending on the production system and the incidence of pests. However, it is seldom considered that the use of sulphur is problematic, except as a main component of sulphites in wine production. It is a sort of universal phytosanitary product: repellent to pests, killer of mites, and effective against powdery mildews. However, it is not selective, and it has harmful effects on beneficial arthropods. So, the use of sulphur can limit biological control. Alternatives to sulphur are not currently applied mainly for economic reasons since sulphur is cheap compared to other compounds. Moreover, since sulphur can be an alternative to mineral oil, its use is not easily reduced.
Mineral oils are applied to exclusively control insects and mites in citrus and olive orchards and occasionally in tomato. There are not many data available for the use of mineral oils but from the data presented it was found that in some cases (e.g. in citrus) they are considered as the main contentious input. The wide spectrum of this substance makes it more versatile than other alternatives. In other cases, mineral oils are of minor use, and can easily be replaced by organic oils.


EPrint Type:Report
Keywords:copper, sulphur, mineral oil, contentious inputs, Europe, regulations, plant protection, citrus, olive, potato, tomato, Norway, Denmark, Germany, UK, Spain, France, Turkey, Poland, Greece, Italy
Subjects: Crop husbandry > Crop health, quality, protection
Values, standards and certification > Evaluation of inputs
Research affiliation: European Union > Horizon 2020 > Organic-PLUS
H2020 or FP7 Grant Agreement Number:774340
Related Links:https://organic-plus.net/
Deposited By: Løes, Anne-Kristin
ID Code:34356
Deposited On:05 Feb 2019 07:36
Last Modified:05 Feb 2019 07:36
Document Language:English
Status:Published
Refereed:Not peer-reviewed

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