Organic Berry Production in Europe is at a Dead End

Damage from Raspberry Beetle

Damage from Raspberry Beetle

The growing of organic strawberries and raspberries in Europe has not expanded in the past decade. There is organic production in most countries, but it is on a very small scale. Organic berry production in Europe is likely to remain a niche market largely due to lack of control of very damaging insect pests.

“Many European growers of organic strawberry and raspberry have large losses in yield (sometimes >80%) and reduced quality of their products because of insect damage. Among the major threats are the strawberry blossom weevil, the European tarnished plant bug and the raspberry beetle. In organic soft fruit production there are no effective control measures for these pest insects.”

Authors: Wibe, A., et al.
Affiliations: Bioforsk Organic Food and Farming, Norway.
Title: Management of strawberry blossom weevil and European tarnished plant bug in organic strawberry and raspberry using semiochemical traps – “Softpest Multitrap”
Source: NJF Report. 2013. 9[8]:31.

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Fly Eggs in Fruit? Insecticides Are the Only Option

bugz

Serrated Egg Layer Drosophila

berries

Blueberries: Drosophila Infestation (Right)

The invasive spotted wing drosophila fly came into the US from Asia in 2008 and has spread throughout the US. The fly prefers softer, sweeter ripe fruit- cherries, raspberries, blueberries,blackberries and strawberries. The female flies use saw-like blades on their abdomens to cut through the skin of ripe fruit and lay their eggs inside. The eggs hatch into worms that feed on the flesh of the fruit – ruining the fruit for sale. Insecticides are currently the only option for drosophila control and growers throughout the US are being advised to spray.

“The spotted wing drosophila, a tiny fly that can take a big bite of orchards and gardens, has gradually been making its way across the country from the West Coast and has discovered the summer bounty in the Granite State is much to its liking, according to Dr. Alan Eaton, an entomologist with the University of New Hampshire.

If the flies show up around the time the fruit ripens, the farmers have to immediately spray to kill them off, Eaton said. There are both standard and organic remedies available, he said, but spraying is vital to saving crops. “We’ve had a few growers who weren’t listening to us and their entire crops were wiped out,” said Eaton.”

Author: Nancy Bean Foster
Affiliation: Union Leader Correspondent
Title: Fruit farmers on guard for new pest
Source: Union Leader. August 26, 2013. Available at: http://www.unionleader.com/article/20130827/NEWHAMPSHIRE07/130829419?dm_i=1ANQ,1T79M,6LPYOS,6H5RF,1

Growing Berries in Germany Requires Fungicides to Prevent Mold

Gray Mold

Gray Mold

The German population has access to high quality strawberries, blueberries and raspberries that are grown in the country every year. However, the climate in Germany is conducive for the growth of mold in the berry fields making fungicide use necessary.

“Small-fruit production is an important component of Northern German agriculture, covering some 4,000 ha of strawberry, 100 ha of raspberry, and 1,500 ha of highbush blueberry as well as smaller acreages of redcurrant, gooseberry, and blackberry. Under the cool and humid regional climatic conditions, several fungicide treatments at bloom are essential in order to control phytopathogenic fungi, notably the gray mold pathogen Botrytis cinerea.”

Author: R.W.S. Weber
Affiliation: Esteburg Fruit Research and Advisory Center, Jork, Germany
Title: Resistance of Botrytis cinerea to multiple fungicides in Northern German small-fruit production.
Publication: Plant Disease. 2011. 95(10):1263-1269.