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United States Department of Agriculture

Agricultural Research Service

Title: Enhanced Biological Control in Apple Orchards Using Ground Covers and Selective Insecticides: An International Study

Authors
item Brown, Mark
item Niemczyk, E - SKIERNIEWICE, POLAND
item Baicu, T - BUCHAREST, ROMANIA
item Balazs, K - BUDAPEST, HUNGARY
item Jarosik, V - PRAGUE-RUZYNE, CZECH REP
item Jenser, G - VOINESTI, ROMANIA
item Kocourek, F - PRAGUE-RUZYNE, CZECH REP
item Olszak, R - SKIERNIEWICE, POLAND
item Serboiu, A - VOINESTI, ROMANIA
item Vanderzwet, Tom

Submitted to: European Journal of Entomology
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: September 1, 1996
Publication Date: N/A

Interpretive Summary: Consumers worldwide are demanding fruit that has been grown using fewer pesticides, but they are also demanding the same high quality, inexpensive fruit that they have learned to expect. With today's world market, American consumers are being exposed to fruit products from around the world and American farmers are competing with farmers from other countries in markets that may require reduced pesticide exposure. This paper report the results of a three year multinational cooperative project initiated by USDA to share and develop methods to rely on biological control for apple insect and disease pests. Experimental and demonstration orchards were established in the United States, Poland, Czech Republic, Hungary and Romania. It was shown that apples can be produced with less pesticide use and more biological control of pests. Yields were equal to conventional orchards and quality of fruit was only slightly less than conventionally produced fruit. Because of higher costs of orchard management, and the greater expense of the more biologically tolerant pesticides, the cost of producing fruit was greater than in conventional orchards. The results of this study will be used to show how pesticides may be reduced in growing apples and also to develop educational and marketing methods to make this method of pest management economically advantageous to farmers in the USA and Europe.

Technical Abstract: Conventional apple pest management was compared with the use of selective pesticides and ground cover plantings in paired orchards in Poland, Czech Republic, Hungary, Romania and USA. Orchards, 0.5 to 5 ha, were managed using similar experimental protocols with adaptations for local conditions. There was an increase in biological control at all sites as a result of the experimental management. Some secondary pests were noted to be increasing in abundance due to the reduced use of broad spectrum pesticides. There was a slight reduction in yield and fruit quality in some plots, but careful selection of ground covers and their management can overcome these reductions. Under the current economics of orchard production these practices are not practical. Research continues, and, as more strict restrictions on pesticide use come into being, the use of ground covers and selective pesticides will be a viable alternative.

Last Modified: 10/30/2014
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