The objective of REPCO is to replace copper fungicides in organic agriculture by new measures for control of downy mildew (Plasmopara viticola) in grapevine and scab (Venturia inaequalis) in apple. Both major European organic crops strongly depend on copper fungicides with application of a total of 38 kg copper per ha permitted between 2002 and 2006. Permitted amounts will be reduced stepwise during the following years (Council Regulation (EEC) 2092/91, Annex II) to avoid environmental risks. In European countries where copper fungicides are already out of use, production of organic apples suffers severe economical problems because of insufficient scab control. Potentiators of resistance, organically based fungicides and biocontrol agents will be screened and evaluated in grapevine and apple. The risk of pathogen evolution during use of novel control measures will be estimated to allow the development of sustainable strategies. Effects of crop management practices in organic agriculture on overwintering of V. inaequalis will be assessed. Novel disease control measures and knowledge will be integrated into organic management systems. 'Pipeline' products already under development elsewhere will be included and where necessary optimised in their use. Implementation by end-users and industries qualified for commercialisation of project findings will be strongly emphasised. SME partners will ensure a strong link between end-users and research. At the end of the project several compounds and biocontrol agents will be delivered to qualified industries for development of products for use in organic agriculture. Additionally, knowledge of integrated use of control measures will be delivered to organic growers. Knowledge and material will be exchanged with ongoing projects on potato late blight control in organically grown potato. The project will thus strongly support EU policies to replace the use of copper fungicides in organic agriculture in the nearby future.
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Funding SchemeSTREP - Specific Targeted Research Project