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Reducing organic top fruit copper use – new ORC project

Category: Research
24 January 2012

The project aims to develop innovative methods, tools and concepts for the replacement of copper in European organic and low input fruit, grapevine, potato, and tomato production systems.

This 4.5 year project, funded by the European Framework 7 Programme, is led by the Julius Kuhn Institute in Germany and has 11 partners across 10 EU countries. Copper-free production systems will be achieved by (i) providing alternative compounds (ii) developing ‘Smart’ application tools, and (iii) integrating these tools into traditional and novel copper-free crop production systems. The copper-free apple, grapevine, potato and tomato production systems will be evaluated in (iv) a multi-criteria assessment with respect to agronomic, ecological and economic performance.

CO-FREE will also develop strategies to (v) develop ‘smart’ breeding goals by development of crop ideotypes and will (vi) foster consumer acceptance of novel disease-resistant cultivars by consumers and retailers.

ORC will evaluate the potential and the limits of agro-forestry based apple production systems as a sustainable strategy for replacing copper inputs in organic and low input systems using Wakelyns and Whitehall Farm as case studies. In particular we will focus on four elements that are likely to be impacted by an agro-forestry systems approach to no-copper use, (i) yield and quality of apple and arable crops (including profit margins), (ii) impact on management activities, (iii) emergence of primary and secondary pests and diseases, and (iv) impact on ecosystem services and functionality.

See our Co-Free project page.

Keywords: agroforestry apple production copper systems approach ecosystem services pest disease control

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