SCALE-UP of the OPERATIVE GROUP FruitCare to European Stakeholders
The FruitCare Project at a glance:
The purpose of integrating the FruitCare Operational Group (www.fruitcare.eu) arises from the elaboration by EFSA of the list of Candidates for Substitution Active Ingredients (CfS). Such matters, as the Agency describes them, are currently perfectly legal and safe, they comply with all the requirements set forth in European legislation and their use is allowed in each member state, although authorization is for each state.
However, various studies suggest that these substances included in the list; a) they have special risk mitigation needs or b) the pathogens they control can be addressed from non-chemical or preventive methods. Therefore, to contribute to agriculture with less environmental impact and greater guarantees for the health of consumers and users, the Agency has issued this list and the substances included in it have priority to be substituted by others, as many as possible. Because of this, there have even been manufacturers who have chosen not to renew their registration and gradually withdraw the product from the market. In some cases, advances in research carried out by EFSA and other official bodies have raised the level of alert about some of these substances and the European Commission itself is fighting for the elimination of the registration of some. In other cases, it is the health authorities of the member states that are unilaterally restricting the use of these substances in their territories, thus anticipating the conclusions of both EFSA and the Commission, but assuming a higher level of protection for consumers and environment.
FRUITCARE is a program sponsored by the Spanish Ministry of Agriculture and the National Program of Rural Developed funded by the European Union. The main objective of this project is to increase the competitiveness of the fruit-producing sector in Spain, anticipating the adaptation of crops to the new European public health requirements. In this way, the potential acceptance of the alternative strategies proposed here is amply demonstrated, as well as the need for the sector (first premise in a market study).
In its first stage, the changes that would take place in the production process of each crop will be evaluated, if the candidate active material is finally replaced, its economic and environmental impact will also be assessed. The main objective of this first stage is to identify the “trinomials” of interest according to the crop and geographical area: pathogen / pest-active material-crop. To evaluate the impact of the suppression of each PPP and to be able to identify the active ingredients of interest, first, the active ingredients candidates for substitution (CfS) will be classified according to their function, the impact that it would cause on the formulations currently registered in the Ministry and the impact its elimination would have. Likewise, the crops and formulations most used in agriculture that would be affected will be identified.
In the second stage, different strategies will be defined for the substitution of the active materials selected according to the suggestions of the technical staff and of the project’s partner producers. These strategies will be proposed depending on whether PPPs are used in pre-harvest (insecticides, herbicides, fungicides, soil disinfection) or post-harvest (fungicides). All strategies will be related to a lower environmental impact (biocontrol treatments in the field and / or in the plant, stimulation of plant resistance, application of postharvest technologies that help to maintain the quality of the fruit and increase its shelf life in conservation / commercialization, non-chemical quarantine treatments, etc.) and for human health (from the farmer to the consumer).
In the final stage, a comparative study will be carried out between the selected CfS active ingredients and their possible alternatives (during at least 2 campaigns or growing cycles). A final report will include the socioeconomic impact (possible influence in terms of production, yields and / or commercial quality of the product or generation of “green employment” and the environment (study of the variations that the entomofauna and flora present throughout the project), allowing us to determine, on the one hand, the real consequences of the suppression of active ingredients, as well as the suitability of the alternative strategies proposed, in each crop.
First Stage – Finalized
To select the active substances that are candidates for substitution to be tested during the project, various steps have been taken and different sources of information have been consulted:
– Compilation of the field logs of the producers participating in the project to analyse the CfS that have been used in the last 3 campaigns.
– Consult the farmers participating in the project about their concerns regarding future restrictions on the use of the active ingredients they use.
– Consultation with producers outside the project of different production areas of the crops to be tested on the active materials CfS and the use in their crops.
– Revision according to expiration date of use that appears in the EU Pesticides database.
– Review of alternatives in the market or in the process of approval that could serve as substitutes.
DEFINITION OF TRINOMIA
Second Stage – In progress (March 2021). In any case the application of other treatments against other pathogens is being reported.
Testing by TRINOMIA
Plum – Difenoconazole / Tebuconazole – Powdery mildew / Monilia:
The target CfS were tebuconazole and difenoconazole, the alternative strategy was a treatment plan with the products Procrop Shield, Amicos Sec, Serenade Max and Basten (Table 1). The applications were made on 04/13/2020, 04/24/2020 and 05/19/2020. These trials were carried out together with the producer partner ACOPAEX.
The following samplings and evaluations were carried out: analysis of soil and irrigation water, periodic evaluations of diseases (powdery mildew and monilia) in leaves and fruits (in total 5 evaluations), phytotoxicity, production (6/26/2020), quality and shelf-life of the harvested fruits (4 evaluations).
The results obtained were as follows: no treatment presented incidence of powdery mildew and monilia in leaves and fruit. The yield was statistically the same in the T0_Control, T2_Alternative and T3_T1 + T2 treatments, although the highest yield occurred in the T0_Control treatment. However, there were significant differences between these treatments (T0, T2 and T3) and the T1_Triazoles treatment, the lowest yield occurred in T1 treatment (-40% with respect to T0). Regarding the quality of the fruit, the treatments with the highest calibre were T1_Triazoles and T2_Triazole Alternative with an increase of 5% and 6% with respect to the control, respectively. The sugar content increased significantly by 10% and 8% in the treatments with the alternative (T2 and T3) compared to the control, it may be due to the biostimulant effect of the products used as alternatives. The hardness of the fruit did not present significant differences, although all the treatments had an increase with respect to the control between 10-13%.
Peach – Difenoconazole / Tebuconazole – Powdery mildew / Monilia:
The target CfS were tebuconazole and difenoconazole, the alternative strategy was a treatment plan with the products Procrop Shield, Amicos Sec, Serenade Max and Basten (Table 2). The applications were made on 04/13/2020, 04/24/2020 and 05/19/2020. These trials were carried out together with the producer partner ACOPAEX.
The following samplings and evaluations were carried out: analysis of soil and irrigation water, periodic evaluations of diseases (powdery mildew and monilia) in leaves and fruits (6 evaluations), phytotoxicity, production (07/24/2020 and 07/31/2020) , fruit quality in the two harvests and useful life of the harvested fruits in the two harvests carried out (4 evaluations).
The results obtained were the following: no treatment presented incidence of powdery mildew and monilia in leaves and fruit. There were no significant differences in yield in any of the crops, nor in total production, although the T1_Triazoles treatment increased yield by 34% compared to T0_Control, and the T3_T1 + T2 treatment increased by 20% compared to the control treatment. Treatment T2_Alternative showed similar results to the control in total production.
Regarding the quality of the fruit, it was evaluated in the two harvests and the average of the two harvests. The size of the fruit had no significant differences between treatments. The sugar content only showed differences in the second harvest, showing increases of 5-8% in those treated with respect to the control. The hardness of the fruit presented significant differences, with the alternative treatment (T2) having 10% more hardness.
Table grape – Tebuconazole – Powdery mildew:
The table grape trials are being carried out in Hondón de Las Nieves (Alicante), for which 2 experimental plots belonging to SAT GALIFRUT have been rented. The tests carried out in the two plots are of the Red Globe and Aledo varieties.
The target CfS was tebuconazole. The alternative strategy was a treatment plan with Araw, Procrop Shield, Amicos Sec, and OSPO-Vi55 products (Table 3), the applications are being carried out by SAT GALIFRUT.
As of October 2020, the following treatments had been used:
5 applications have been made (06/06/20, 06/17/20.04/07/2020, 07/16/2020 and 8/14/2020). The following samplings and evaluations have been carried out: analysis of soil and irrigation water, periodic evaluations of diseases (powdery mildew) on leaves and bunches (so far 7 evaluations, on 5/6/2020 before the start of the test, 23/6 / 20,06 / 07 / 2020,20 / 07 / 20,05 / 08/20, 08/20/20 and 09/02/20) and phytotoxicity. It is planned to continue with the disease incidence evaluations until harvest, the production and quality of the bunches will be evaluated in all harvests.
For the moment, no powdery mildew has been detected in clusters or leaves in any of the evaluated treatments. The products tested do not cause phytotoxicity.
6 applications have been made (06/06/20, 06/18/20, 07/04/2020, 07/13/2020, 07/23/2020 and 8/14/2020). The following samplings and evaluations have been carried out: analysis of soil and irrigation water, periodic evaluations of diseases (powdery mildew) on leaves and bunches (7 evaluations have been carried out so far, on 6/5/2020 before the start of the trial, 6/23/20, 07/06/20, 07/20/20, 08/05/20, 08/20/20 and 09/02/20) and phytotoxicity. It is planned to continue with the disease incidence evaluations until harvest, the production and quality of the bunches will be evaluated in all harvests.
For the moment, no powdery mildew has been detected on the leaves, however, in the evaluation of 07/20/20, powdery mildew was detected in the bunches with an incidence of 5% in T0_Control, 2.5% in T1_triazoles and 1 % in the T2_Alternative. The treatment with less severity in the bunch was the alternative (T2) with 1%. In subsequent evaluations there was no presence of the disease, probably because the climatic conditions were not optimal for its development. The products tested do not cause phytotoxicity.
Strawberry – Difenocolazole – Powdery mildew:
The strawberry trial is being carried out in Huelva, with the producer partner SAT La Redondela. Ideagro participated in the design of the trial together with ZERYA and SAT La Redondela. Soil sampling was carried out on 04/22/2020 and irrigation water sampling was carried out on 05/13/2020.
The trial was carried out in a plot of 7.000 sq. metres with the variety ‘Inspire’. The target CfS was Tebuconazole and the substitution strategy was SymbioSil 2C, Symbiothrive Pro AZ, SymbioSprint Basic and SymbioMico Grow, however this strategy is not going to be repeated in the 2020/2021 as it has been deemed that the substitution products, though worked well phytosanitary-wise and the fruit was sweeter with higher ºBx readings, it affected substantially the yield of the crop, causing lesser flowering, smaller calibres and slower growth, hence making the plants less productive and profitable. The strategy for the following season will consist of different products, more like those tested in the other crops.
The distribution of the plot is organized in macro-tunnels with white thermal polyethylene plastic 600 gauges thick and said covers were made 40 days after planting. The macro-tunnels have 4 spines inside covered with TIF (TOTALLY WATERPROOF FILM) black plastic 65 cm wide, an average length of 60 meters and 2 irrigation tapes per loin. To carry out phytosanitary and foliar treatments, there is a machine with a 200 L treatment tank served by an 80-horsepower tractor. The spray formulation is applied with spray guns (single) or bars of 6 to 8 spray nozzles fed with rubber pipes. The outlet is selected depending on the purpose of the foliar treatment.
The sampling period took place from February 5 to April 28, with the following application calendar for alternative treatments. All treatments were applied by LA REDONDELA personnel, as well as the collection and analysis of yield, production, etc.
Analysing the final conclusions derived from each trial, we verify that, with respect to production, there are statistically significant differences in which it is shown that the production obtained in the plots with Treatment has been lower than those obtained in Control. This fact confirms that the use of the alternative chosen products decreases production, worsens both in the number of fruits and in their harvested weight, which also represents an economic loss.
Regarding the quality of the fruits, the results obtained in the different treatments have been similar in all its parameters, ºBx, Hardness, Exterior Gloss and Bruise Resistance. The slight increase in ºBx and Hardness for the harvested fruits in which the products have been treated is minimal, so the use of them is not vital.
In short, the use of the tested products does not meet the proposed objectives since their slight improvement in quality and post-harvest performance does not balance the great loss in production. This loss of production, redundant to the price of the products and to the cost of personnel for the treatments, supposes important economic losses and therefore, the lack of profitability of the alternative tested products.
Raspberry – Difenoconazole – Powdery mildew:
The raspberry trial is being carried out in Huelva, with the producer partner SAT La Redondela. Ideagro participated in the soil sampling on 04/22/2020 and irrigation water sampling was carried out on 05/13/2020.
The trial was carried out in a plot of 4.300 sq metres with the variety ‘Adelita’. The targe CfS was Difenoconazole being the control treatment ‘Score 25 EC’ at the dosage prescribed by the product registry 20cc on 100 litres, the substitution strategy was Amicos Sec (SEIPASA), and in both cases, the treatments were complemented with products ‘Siapton’ (Aminoacids), Fructol (Foliar NPK+Micro elements) and a standard solution of algae.
The trial was performed in 6 tunnels of two loins each, 3 tunnels for the conventional treatment and 3 tunnels for the alternative treatments. There are two rows of plants on each loin and the fruit used for the determinations was collected from mid sections of 5 meters in each row, making a total of 12 repetitions per treatment. All treatments were applied by foliar spray with high volume mist nozzles. The plots were sprayed with their respective treatment 3 times on March 25th, April 9th, and 16th.
The fruit measured was collected in a daily basis between April 25th, 2020 and May 26th, 2020, the fruit was counted and weighed per plant, then segregated, counted, and weighed by those considered to be premium class, second class and the ones affected by disease or defects. Likewise, it was measured in ºBx, firmness and tolerance to bruising. The total weight and ºBx measurements were repeated after 7 days. There were no fruit reported with disease in any of the samples as the weather conditions throughout the season were stable. There were no significant differences in any of the parameters measured, concluding that the alternative and the control treatments have equal performance in terms of disease protection and influence in the yield and quality.
Stone Fruit – Thiacloprid – Flathead root borer:
Because the active material (Thiacloprid) acts against the adult stages of the pest, being a direct control method, which consists of applying with spraying on the tree canopy at times when they come to eat foliage. Treatments are recommended in May and June when adults come to eat before laying and another in September against the new generation. Due to the mobility of the plague in the field, the test was planned in the laboratory with cages and suitable plant material to preserve the adults according to the protocol described.
In the first period of the project, due to the pandemic situation during the months of May and June, it was impossible to capture a representative number of adults to begin the laboratory test. An attempt was made to search for pests in plots close to the Ideagro facilities, although they did not belong to the partners, but access was limited, and a representative number of adults was not obtained to carry out the trial. In the following campaign, the study of this trinomial will be evaluated.