Insecticides Required to Meet Consumer Demands for Blemish-Free Carrots in the EU

nasty carrots

Carrot Fly Damage

Carrot is one of the most important vegetable crops in the EU with 6 billion pounds of annual production. The carrot fly is the major insect pest of the carrot crop in Europe. Before the introduction of insecticides in the 1950s, the carrot fly typically damaged 20-50% of the carrots grown in Europe. In some parts of Europe, the damage from the carrot fly was so severe that it was not profitable to grow carrots. Today, European carrot growers spray insecticides to prevent damage from the carrot fly.

“Carrot fly, is the most widespread and serious pest of carrot, parsnip, parsley and certain other umbelliferous herbs in temperate regions of the world. … The insect has two and, in some parts of Britain, Europe and New Zealand, three generations each year. Adult insects feed on the nectar and pollen provided by flowers and spend most of their life in the hedgerows, ditches or amongst herbaceous plants in gardens. Females search out carrot plants to lay their eggs which are inserted in crevices around the crown of the host plant. The larvae, which emerge from the eggs, migrate downwards to feed on plant roots.

Carrots grown commercially can be rendered unmarketable by even slight carrot fly damage.

To meet the stringent levels of blemish-free produce demanded by the supermarkets in the UK and Europe, commercial carrot production depends precariously on a few insecticides to control this pest.”

Author: Ellis, P. R.
Affiliation: Horticulture Research International, UK.
Title: The identification and exploitation of resistance in carrots and wild Umbelliferae to the carrot fly, Psila rosae (F.)
Source: Integrated Pest Management Reviews. 1999. 4:259-268.

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Highest Sugarbeet Yields Ever in the UK Thanks to Fungicides

Where Sugar Comes From

Where Sugar Comes From

The sugarbeet industry expanded dramatically in the UK in the 1920s to make Britain more self-sufficient in sugar production after severe shortages in World War 1 and after it lost most of its sugar-producing colonies. Until the introduction of new fungicides in the 1990s, UK sugarbeet growers relied on sulfur sprays for controlling diseases. The new fungicides provide better disease control and have a direct physiological effect on the plants which leads to higher yields. Refining the spray schedule with these new fungicides has resulted in the highest sugarbeet yields ever in the UK.

“In 2011, the UK sugar industry celebrated its highest ever national yield of 75.6 t/ha. A number of factors contributed to this excellent achievement, but a major contributor was the widespread and appropriate use of fungicide spray regimes across the vast majority of the sugar beet crop. These products control diseases including powdery mildew and rust, but also provide physiological benefits such as green leaf retention and early frost protection.”

Authors: Stevens, M., and E. Burks.
Affiliation: Rothamsted Research-Broom’s Barn
Title: Fungicide strategies for maximizing yield potential: lessons from 2011.
Source: British Sugar Beet Review. Summer, 2012. 80[2]:10-13.