Future plant protection strategies should be efficacious, economic and environmentally acceptable. TheSustainOS methodology has been developed to assess the sustainability of crop protection strategies in apple orchards. The methodology consists of a system description structure, an assessment step for subcriteria of sustainability and an aggregation of these subcriteria to an overall sustainability. The method has been applied in a case study on four plant protection strategies in apple orchard systems in the Swiss Lake of Constance region. The strategies reached from a system strongly depending on pesticides to an innovative system in which pesticides were replaced to a large extend by alternative plant protection measures. It could be shown that ecotoxicity and other environmental impacts of plant protection measures could be improved by implementation of alternative plant protection measures available today. However, economic disadvantages were the drawback of the ecological progress. An improved economic situation could be achieved with future innovative crop protection strategies and new resistant varieties assuming higher and more stable yield.
Sustainability rating of crop protection strategies in apple production