The EU ENDURE Project (European Network for the Durable Exploitation of Crop Protection Strategies) was concluded at the end of 2010. The four-year project saw the development of a centre of excellence, the long-term aim of which was to serve as a point of contact and platform for issues of sustainable plant protection in the EU. Agroscope was responsible for the sub-project to assess the sustainability of plant protection systems. In addition to this main focus, Agroscope staff participated in other sub-projects such as the case studies for maize, vineyard and field crop plant protection, and in landscape ecology projects, the prediction modelling of harmful organisms, and contributions to European databases. As well as the development of new methods, the sustainability of four plant protection systems in five European apple growing regions was investigated as a case study. A basic system reflecting today’s common practice was defined for each region. In a further development two advanced and one innovative system were defined for each region, replacing synthetic chemical plant protectives with alternative methods. The results show how and to what extent non-chemical methods can contribute to environmental conservation and also whether they are economically feasible. The maize and vineyard case studies discuss non-chemical methods of pest control and explain the significance of improved forecasting methods using the example of downy mildew.
Stucky T., Hochstrasser M., Meyer S., Segessemann T., Ruthes A. C., Ahrens C. H., Dahlin P., Pelludat C.
The root knot nematode (RKN) Meloidogyne incognita causes damage in field and greenhouse crops. Agroscope researchers have developed a new screening test to identify bacteria that antagonise this agricultural pest.
With CULTAN fertilisation, nitrogen is injected into the soil as an ammonium solution. Multi-year trials conducted by Agroscope show that this method reduces nitrogen leaching by an average 38% without negatively affecting yields.
Tuta absoluta is one of the most destructive pests of solanaceous crops. Agroscope has developed a statistical model to study the population dynamics of the pest and its parasitoids and allows interventions to be optimally planned.