Small Apple Growers in Italy’s Trentino Region Benefit Greatly from Insecticide Use

Trentino Region

Trentino Region

The province of Trento, or Trentino, is a mountainous region and an important producer of apples with annual production of about 450,000 tons accounting for about 20% of Italian production. Apple farming is the main source of income for about 10,000 families in Trentino. In addition, another 6000 families depend on income from the apple sector for packing, transportation and other secondary activities. In 1989, the Public Administration of Trento approved a program for Integrated Production standards. Since 1991, Integrated Fruit Production (IFP) guidelines have covered all aspects of production. The apple crop in Trentino is almost completely managed by IFP standards. In Trentino, codling moth has two generations per year. The most common situation includes an application of an insect growth regulator at the first egg-laying period and two more treatments using insecticides with a different mode of action. In Trentino, uncontrolled codling moth would damage 50-90% of the apples. Apple production in Trentino remains generally quite profitable and provides a major contribution to the economic and social standards of the province. By preventing damage from insects and pathogens, pesticides play an essential role in the economic and social well-being of the region.

“Codling moth (CM), Cydia pomonella L., is a key pest affecting pome fruit worldwide. In the Trento province (northern Italy) control of this pest is achieved by integrated pest management (IPM) programmes, largely relying on insect growth regulators (IGRs) during the first generation and on curative pesticides timed according to the injury threshold level during the second generation. In large apple orchards, mating disruption is preferred and is normally combined with one insecticide application during post-flowering to control lepidopteran larvae in general, including leafrollers. Because of their efficacy against both overwintering leafroller larvae and CM eggs, IGRs are widely used.”

Authors: Ioriatti, C., et al.
Affiliation: IASMA Research Center, Italy.
Title: Early detection of resistance to tebufenozide in field populations of Cydia pomonella L.: methods and mechanisms.
Source: Journal of Applied Entomology. 2007. 131[7]:453-459.

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Organic Apple Growing Not Popular in Sweden

Apple Scab

Apple Scab

The Swedish government set a goal of having 20% of the total crop area grown organically by 2010. Organic fruit acreage did not make the goal and is still less than 5%. Growers fear low yields and poor quality by not using chemical pesticides in organic systems. Apple production would decline significantly in Sweden if the majority of growers gave up the use of pesticides and used organic methods. A major problem for apple growers in Sweden is apple scab.

 “There is a large demand for domestically grown apples in Sweden. However, approximately 85% of the apples consumed in Sweden are imported, and the percentage of imported organic apples is even higher. Organic fruit is produced on 4% of the orchard area.

The estimated cost price of producing organic apples in a 5 ha orchard is €1.14 per kg, which is twice as high as for conventionally produced apples, mainly due to lower yields in organic production. Modern apple orchards have average yields of 40 ton/ha in conventional production and around 20 ton/ha in organic production.

The high cost price of organic apples was mainly due to lower yields in organic production, but also higher costs for weed control. Although it is possible to generate similar economic returns from organic production, few conventional growers in Sweden are converting to organic production. Another obstacle is that growers fear low yields and poor quality in organic production due to pests, diseases and weeds.”

Authors: Ascard, J., et al.
Affiliation: Swedish Board of Agriculture.
Title: Cost price calculations for organically and conventionally grown apples in Sweden.
Source: Ecofruit Proceedings. 2010.