Functional agrobiodiversity – a novel approach to optimize pest control in fruit production


Abstract: Fruit growers suffer great economic losses each year due to pest damage. The demand for organic produce is increasing along with the interest from growers to develop sustainable and more resilient production systems and over 20% of the apple production in Denmark is now organic. Available pest management options are limited and prevention is important for resilience. In the project PROTECFRUIT we test the use of functional agrobiodiversity, by promoting the abundance and diversity of natural enemies in ecological infrastructures using perennial, wild flower strips in organic orchards. Rosy apple aphid, Dysaphis plantaginea, infestation and damage, and predator abundance and diversity were assessed in organic orchards with flower strips and compared to organic orchards without flower strips. In orchards with flower strips these parameters were also assessed as a function of distance to flower strip. The methodology includes visual observations, beating samples and sentinel prey to estimate predation activity. Field trials were conducted in 2016 and will be repeated again in 2017. Preliminary results show that aphid infestation and fruit damage w ere less in orchards with flower strips than in control orchards.

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