Agroscope, Institute for Plant Production Sciences IPS, Switzerland

Challenges of the residue-free apple production

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 to establish sustainable production systems that reduce the use and the residues of pesticides. Wholesalers in Europe introduced quality management systems in order to reduce residues and the used plant protection products. Agroscope tested during several years from a technical and economic point of view a lowresidue strategy. The production of residue-free apples is possible. Alternative measures such as insect exclusion netting, mating disruption against codling moth (Cydia pomonella), mulching with leaves to reduce scab (Venturia inaequalis) inoculum, and modern storage techniques were applied. The production of low-residue apples meets consumer demand. However, economic calculation showed that the low-residue strategy is not profitable because of storage diseases. A price premium for low-residue production might be justified by

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