Autonomous control of powdery mildew as part of IPM strategy in strawberry


Abstract: In strawberry UV-C treatments proved to be very effective in the control of powdery mildew at Research Centre Hoogstraten, Belgium. UV-C can be the basic treatment to control the leaf disease even on very susceptible varieties like Elsanta. Earlier trials point out a need of at least three treatments per week with a day treatment dose of 120 J/m² to achieve acceptable disease control during the period with highest natural disease pressure. Only after repetitive treatments can control be realized. In the coming years we will develop a fully autonomous vehicle to treat strawberry crops in substrate. Before starting to apply UV-C in strawberry cultivations, we need to assess the side effects of the light against other pathogens and beneficials. We showed detectable, but limited working rate against pathogens like Botrytis and spider mite and no effect against thrips and aphids. Based on these and near future findings we will implement UV-C in a fully functioning IPM strategy. Using autonomous mildew control aims to realize a reduction in the use of chemical pesticides, lowering the amounts of residues and maintaining a healthy crop with optimal production rates.

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