Evaluation of the low-residue apple crop protection
Crop protection in general and apple crop protection in particular rely on pesticides, but consumers demand a reduction of pesticide use and ideally an elimination of pesticide residues in order to minimize the impact on the environment and the risk for human health. Producers need information and advice on designing sustainable production systems that reduce the use and the residues of pesticides. In a four year trial with 'Golden Delicious' and the scab resistant cultivars 'Topaz', 'Otava', and 'Ariane', a low-residue strategy (reduced use of synthetic fungicides) was compared with established crop protection strategies (integrated and organic apple production). Alternative measures, such as insect exclusion netting, mating disruption against codling moth (Cydia pomonella) and mulching of leaves to reduce scab (Venturia inaequalis) inoculum were applied in all strategies. Using the low-residue strategy, no pesticide residues could be detected and control of apple scab and powdery mildew was comparable to the integrated strategy and superior to the organic strategy. Because of fruit losses due to storage diseases in the LR-strategy the pack out was lower than with the IP-strategy. Calculation of the cash flow of the LR-strategy by using IP-prices showed that LR-strategy does not reach the break-even point. A price premium for low-residue production might be justified by environmental advantages.
Gölles, M., Bravin, E. and Naef, A. (2015). Evaluation of the low-residue apple crop protection. Acta Hortic. 1105, 341-346
apple crop protection, low pesticide residue, pest management strategy, economic evaluation