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Current use of copper, mineral oils and sulphur for plant protection in organic horticultural crops across 10 European countries

Katsoulas, N.; Løes, Anne-Kristin; Andrivon, D.; Cirvilleri, G.; de Cara, M.; Kir, A.; Knebl, L.; Malinska, K.; Oudshoorn, F. W.; Willer, H. and Schmutz, U. (2020) Current use of copper, mineral oils and sulphur for plant protection in organic horticultural crops across 10 European countries. Organic Agriculture, online, pp. 1-13.

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Document available online at: https://link.springer.com/article/10.1007/s13165-020-00330-2


The use of several plant protection inputs of mineral origin, such as copper, sulphur or mineral oils is seen as contentious by many consumers and stakeholders within the organic sector. Although the use of these inputs is legal in organic systems and also applied in non-organic agriculture, their use by organic growers raises questions for organic practice, which aspires to be free from toxic, non-renewable chemicals. Data on the current use of permitted plant protection inputs is currently scarce, especially in horticulture where chemical inputs deserve special attention since horticultural products are often readily edible. A mapping of the use of copper, sulphur and mineral oils was conducted by collecting expert knowledge across 10 European countries during May–October 2018, i.e. before the limitation of copper use to 4 kg ha−1 year−1 from February 1, 2019. Results show that copper is widely used by Mediterranean organic growers in citrus, olive, tomato and potato production. The annual limit of 6 kg ha−1 year−1 was not always respected. We also found that tomato producers apply high amounts of copper in winter crops in greenhouses. Mineral oils are applied to control scales, mites and whiteflies. Sulphur is also commonly used by organic vegetable growers, especially in greenhouses. We conclude that the high usage found in various different crops (especially Mediterranean crops) confirms the need for researching alternatives.

EPrint Type:Journal paper
Keywords:Mediterranean crops, Greenhouse crops, tomato, Contentious inputs, plant protection, Abacus, FiBL60073, Organic-PLUSX
Agrovoc keywords:
plant protection
greenhouse crops
Subjects: Crop husbandry > Production systems > Vegetables
Crop husbandry > Crop health, quality, protection
Research affiliation: European Union > Horizon 2020 > Organic-PLUS
Turkey > Olive Research Institute
Switzerland > FiBL - Research Institute of Organic Agriculture Switzerland > Communication
Denmark > SEGES
Spain > IFAPA (Instituto de Investigación y Formación Agraria y Pesquera de Andalucía)
France > Other organizations
Italy > Univ. Catania
Norway > NORSØK - Norwegian Centre for Organic Agriculture
UK > Univ. Coventry
Germany > Other organizations
Horizon Europe or H2020 Grant Agreement Number:774340
Deposited By: Willer, Helga
ID Code:38525
Deposited On:27 Oct 2020 11:36
Last Modified:18 Jun 2021 11:28
Document Language:English
Refereed:Peer-reviewed and accepted

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