Strategy offers potential for strawberry growers to reduce pesticide use

Strawberry growers can reduce pesticide use and resulting residues without compromising yield or quality by adopting an integrated pest and disease management (IPDM) strategy, according to the Horticultural Development Company.

A five-year Horticulture LINK-funded trial (HL 0191), headed by Professor Gerry Cross of East Malling Research, compared an IPDM approach geared to tackling the most common strawberry pests and diseases with a conventional control regime at four fruit farms in Kent and one in Surrey.

While quality and yield were comparable between the two regimes, residues on the IPDM fruit were between 50 and 100 per cent lower.

The test strategy employed a mixture of biological controls, including the bee-dispersed Prestop Mix for control of Botrytis, as well as habitat manipulation and semiochemical lures, but with conventional fungicides and pesticides also employed when the risk of residues was considered low.

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Professor Geoffrey Dixon

GreenGene International chair Geoff Dixon on the business of fresh produce production

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