Apple Futures: a new crop protection paradigm for New Zealand apple exports

J.T.S. Walker, M.R. Butcher, N.M. Park
New Zealand apple growers have continually adapted their crop protection systems to meet international phytosanitary standards and supermarket demands for food safety from sustainable production systems. Until the mid-1990s crop protection programmes were dominated by organophosphate (OP) insecticides needed to meet phytosanitary requirements alone. The development of customer assurance programmes by European supermarkets from the mid-1990s led to changes in crop protection practices, leading to the widespread adoption of Integrated Fruit Production (IFP) by 2001. Total insecticide applications had decreased by 65% and OP insecticides by 99% with small increases in codling moth risk. Addressing stringent residue restrictions in European markets and codling moth phytostanitary requirements in other markets required a harmonised approach for pest management in export crops. Apple Futures was developed in 2008 to achieve average residues at harvest that were ≤10% of the EU residue tolerances, while still meeting the phytosanitary requirements of many pest-sensitive Asian markets. Apple Futures is now deployed on ~70% of national production and is based on selective and biological insecticides and increasing use of mating disruption for codling moth and leafrollers. Fungicide use remains relatively unchanged, albeit with much lower average residues at harvest, but insecticide use and residues have decreased significantly. Since the mid-1990s the total insecticide loading has declined from 13.7 to 1.3 kg a.i. per ha in 2014 while all residues were ≤10% of EU tolerances. Under Apple Futures strategies codling moth larval incidence has declined as have some previously important pest groups (e.g., leafrollers), through enhanced biological control.
Walker, J.T.S., Butcher, M.R. and Park, N.M. (2015). Apple Futures: a new crop protection paradigm for New Zealand apple exports. Acta Hortic. 1105, 1-10
DOI: 10.17660/ActaHortic.2015.1105.1
New Zealand apples, integrated fruit production, low residues, phytosanitary, market access

Acta Horticulturae