The year 2016 was marked by a high pest population. Damage was reported on cherries, mainly in plots without protective nets. In small fruits, the implemented prevention and protection strategies limited damage. Autumn raspberries and blackberries remain difficult to protect, however. Sizable losses were recorded for apricots. In vineyards, a few sensitive grape varieties were attacked. It seems that grapes are not a preferred host plant of the spotted-wing drosophila.
This fly damages ripe fruits, berries and grapes . Agroscope researchers are proposing different fighting methods.
Glyphosate Residues in Groundwater?
In 2016, and on behalf of the Federal Office for the Environment FOEN, one hundred samples of the TREND module of the NAQUA National Groundwater Monitoring Programme were examined for residues of the herbicide active substance glyphosate. Glyphosate itself was not detected in any of the samples. The breakdown product AMPA was found right at the detection limit of 0.005 µg/L in one sample. The data confirm results of earlier studies: both substances possess a relatively low groundwater contamination potential.
Every year, as part of the process of certifying potato plants intended for Swiss producers, Agroscope inspects around 300,000 tubers to ensure that they are free from viral diseases. Since 2016, this is done via quantitative reverse transcription polymerase chain reaction (real-time RT-PCR) right after the harvest. This method allows results to be obtained more quickly, and dispenses with the use of toxic and environmentally hazardous substances. It also offers the means to check each stage of the analysis, and can be adapted to screen for other types of microorganisms likely to affect the quality of the potato plants.
Pests and Beneficials: A Reference Work
The second volume of the La Vigne collection brings together current research and summarises the knowledge acquired over the course of the last few decades. ‘Our approach is based on the famous book La défense des plantes cultivées, published in 1909, and whose successive versions have supported generations of professionals’ explains Olivier Viret. This new work shows that all research conducted nowadays allows farmers to dispense with insecticides and acaricides in the majority of cases. An invaluable guide for integrated pest control.
Harmful soil-borne organisms are a growing problem in outdoor vegetable production. Such insect pests and diseases could be controlled with the help of microbial antagonists. Both the use of new organisms and the inclusion of microbes in cultivation systems are being tested and optimised. These alternative methods will catch on in practice if they are technically easy to implement. The aim of our work is eco-friendly plant protection in vegetable production.