Leader: Per Kudsk (AU)
This activity will achieve significant progress in the short term on optimising and reducing pesticide use, starting from existing farming systems by:
The approach is based on case studies demonstrating the feasibility of changing farmer practices and to transfer crop protection strategies made available and already implemented at the research level. Five case studies were selected for joint research during the initial 18 months of the project: wheat, potato, integrated weed management, pomefruit and tomato. Since then, four others have been developed: maize, field vegetables, banana and grapevine.
Wheat (now completed)
Leader: Lise Nistrup Jorgensen (AU)
In some regions of Europe, substantial reduction in fungicide use on wheat has been achieved through a combination of resistant or low-input cultivars, crop management designed to limit pest risk, information on disease thresholds and innovative fungicide application strategies. We will assess the feasibility of extending these approaches to other regions by evaluating their performance in three agro-ecological contexts, and identifying the factors limiting their wider adoption by farmers.
Potato (now completed)
Leader: Huub Schepers (PRI)
Even though new control strategies have been developed, early and late blight still cause large-scale use of fungicides. This case study will demonstrate the relevance, effectiveness, feasibility and acceptability of new control strategies in different agro-ecological contexts across Europe.
Integrated weed management (IWM) (now completed)
Leader: Bo Melander (AU)
There is extensive expertise on both non-chemical and chemical approaches to weed management in Europe, but little consensus on how to combine these approaches to optimise efficacy and cost-effectiveness. We will focus on the integration of non-chemical methods into existing strategies based on herbicide use. Such integrated weed management approaches offer considerable scope for innovation and reduced reliance on chemicals.
Pomefruit (now completed)
Leader: Bart Heijne (PRI)
Scab, brown spot and codling moth are responsible for large-scale use of pesticides on apple and pears. Tactics for improved crop protection are available and can be combined into a 'toolbox' enabling farmers to substantially decrease pesticide input, lower environmental impact and increase economic benefits. This Case Study will demonstrate in different agro-ecological contexts the effectiveness, feasibility and acceptability of these strategies.
Tomato (now completed)
Leaders: Rosa Gabarra and Judit Arno (UdL)
Tomato is affected by whiteflies and whitefly-transmitted viruses in several European tomato-growing areas. The complexity of the problem (whitefly biotypes, virus strains, and insecticide resistance) has prompted cooperation between researchers and industrialists within the EU-funded European Whitefly Studies Network (EWSN) and IOBC/WPRS working groups. We will establish a central database on whiteflies and viruses, highlight gaps in our knowledge, and coordinate this work with ENDURE's work on pesticide resistance management.
Leader: Jean-Michel Risede (CIRAD)
Diagnosis of pest control strategies in European banana-producing areas, with special interest in innovative ones leading to pesticide reduction. Development of short and mid-term research areas for pesticide reduction than can be linked to current ENDURE strategies.
Leader: Philippe Lucas (INRA)
Status of pesticide-based and alternative methods to control diseases, pests and weeds of five major field vegetable crops (carrot, cabbage, onion, leek and salad). Past and ongoing achievements in control of weeds and soil-borne diseases and pests through soil steaming, soil solarization and/or bio-fumigation. Agreement on and implementation of common field experiments for management of soil-borne diseases and pests, and weeds.
Leader: Patrik Mouron (AGROS)
The maize case study will focus on short-term solutions for reducing pesticide inputs and on special topics. Results will provide important technical expertise towards a system-based approach to sustainable crop protection strategies aiming for short-term solutions for the end-user.
Leader: Christian Gary (INRA)
The grapevine case study will compile an inventory of data available on prevailing strategies of crop protection and pesticide use in viticulture, and analyse the bottlenecks and conditions for the reduction of pesticide use in viticulture. Additionally, it will contribute to the inventory of tools for the dissemination of innovative practices and identify gaps in information and research which should be promoted.
Leader: Antoine Messéan (INRA)
The overall objective of RA2 is to design and develop innovative integrative crop protection systems for pest management at both the cropping system and landscape scales, which will reduce the use of chemical pesticides, mitigate their negative environmental impacts and improve agricultural sustainability. A systems approach will be used and integrate innovations coming from fast-developing areas such as molecular technologies, precision agriculture and landscape ecology within protection strategies. In order to assess ex-ante a wide range of existing, innovative or speculative solutions, and to identify and select the most efficient ones as early as possible, special emphasis will be given to modelling approaches and the design of multi-criteria assessment tools.
RA2.1 Prevention of pest damage at the cropping system level
Leader: INRA , Jean-Noel Aubertot (INRA)
Preventing damage (i.e. crop loss, including quantitative and qualitative losses), instead of preventing epidemics, represents the rationale for deploying pest management tools in this sub-activity. Damage (or crop loss) results from multiple interactions in fairly complex systems. New modelling approaches have been developed that allow the mechanistic simulation of the variation of damage as a response to both production situations and injury profiles.
RA2.2 Exploitation of innovative technologies for implementing crop protection strategies
Leader: Carolien Zijlstra (PRI)
This sub-activity aims to develop innovative approaches to the environmentally sound control of pests and diseases in an agricultural crop. Drafts of two reviews have been produced. One described applicable techniques for detection of plant pathogens in air, soil, starting material and in the field. The other described existing technologies and research prototypes for precision spray application. These have been combined resulting in one review describing how diagnostic tools can facilitate the use of precision spraying techniques resulting in a reduction of pesticide use in general. A framework of a generic model for innovative crop protection (icps) for the future has been developed and will be filled with available data on maize. RA2.2 is also providing expert assistance to the winter crops and orchards system case studies.
RA2.3 Exploitation of landcape and community ecology
Leader: Claire Lavigne, INRA
The design of innovative environmentally friendly crop protection strategies will necessitate better knowledge of pests/weeds population biology in relation to crop protection and surrounding landscape. Indeed, strategies that rely less on pesticides/herbicides will include combinations of tactics with partial effects on various life-stages of the pest/weed (for example, manipulation of the spatial distribution of the pest/weed habitat or regulation by natural enemies). These strategies may have to be deployed over wider areas than the fields themselves, in particular for long-distance dispersing pests/weeds. The current work programme includes a review on the relation between pest abundance and crop/non-crop density over the landscape, building up and testing hypotheses about landscape effects on weeds, contributing to the description of landscapes in the orchard system case study and the organisation of a joint workshop for activities engaged in studies related to landscape management for biocontrol.
RA2.4 Design of crop protection strategies through modelling and experimentation
Leader: Antoine Messéan (INRA)
We will support crop protection strategies by exploiting existing and speculative components such as new ideotypes and new plant architecture, as well as incipient strategies that do not yet appear viable according to economic, technical or social criteria. Pre-trial sustainability assessments of the potential strategies that emerge will help us identify research, economic and policy barriers and opportunities. We will develop a prototype of a multi-criteria, multi-sector and dynamic evaluation tool to allow us to select crop protection strategies for subsequent field-testing. A generic prototype of a computer-based decision support system will be designed for the multi-sector impact assessment of the crop protection strategies selected. This will be based on a rule-based model describing the various criteria associated to these impacts and will incorporate both expert-based knowledge and quantitative models. Thus the current work programme encompasses prototyping an overall multi-criteria assessment model for crop protection strategies (DEXIPM), testing the robustness of DEXIPM, using DEXIPM to support the system case studies, and the development of a new release of DEXIPM.
RA2.5 Orchard system case study, phase two
Leader: Bart Heijne, PPO (WUR)
Phase one of the orchard system case study followed the idea that landscape influences orchard pests, and by analysing these, innovative tools for integrated control strategies can be derived which are coherent with landscape ecology. Phase two is a modified follow-up of phase one. The modifications implemented in phase two are that alternative and advanced practices are promoted, information on innovative developments are collected and are united to systems, and these descriptions of current, advanced and innovative systems form the basis for RA3 analysis of these systems. Moreover, the transition of tools into practice needs socio-economic analysis to identify non-technical bottlenecks and suggestions to overcome these (see RA3.5).
RA2.6 Arable crops system case study
Leaders: Antoine Messéan (INRA) and Per Kudsk (AU)
Reduction of pesticide use in arable crops not only needs improving crop protection practices or substituting non-chemical techniques (genetics, biological control) but also redesigning the cropping system and enlarging scales to multi-pest crop rotations and landscape interactions. The arable crops systems case study aims at:
Two typical cropping systems have been selected:
RA2.6a Designing innovative crop protection strategies in arable rotations - winter crops-based cropping systems (WCCS)
Leaders: Bo Melander (AU) and Neal Evans (RRES)
The current work programme includes pest problems and pesticide reduction scenarios, applicable strategies and methods in WCCS, recommendations and dissemination and innovative systems for the future.
RA2.6b Designing innovative crop protection strategies in arable rotations - maize-based cropping systems (MBCS)
Leaders: Jozsef Kiss (SZIE) and Maurizio Sattin (CNR)
Maize-based cropping systems are dominant in regions in partner countries and their pesticide load is generally high. These systems involve other crops (such as winter cereals, sunflower and soybean) and are infested by many important pests. The current work programme includes: the identification of economic pest problems, pest control practices by farmers in the selected regions, characteristics (for example, pesticide load) and bottlenecks of existing MBCS, andrecommendations for sustainable plant protection with innovative methods, approaches and implications for IPM in MBCS.
RA2.6c Meta-analyses of rotational effects on weeds and pests
Leader: David Bohan (RRES)
Rotations are an important component of RA2.6. However, there is little available information on rotational effects at the European scale. ENDURE will be conducting an investigation, using data available across the partners, into these effects by building on a preliminary analysis conducted at RRES. The group is extending a previously developed rotational analysis method across Europe, using data provided by ENDURE members.
Leader: Franz Bigler (AGROS)
The overall objective of RA3 is to evaluate the impact of current and advanced plant protection strategies on the environment, the economy of the farmer and society at large. Based on the data and results of the earlier work, the focus is now on ex-post assessments of crop protection in the orchard system case study by analysing current and existing advanced systems. This will be performed by the use of multi-criteria tools such as DEXi, LCA, SALCA, GIS landscape analysis, eco-efficiency and economic value assessment. In addition, the system case studies on arable crop rotations will also be analysed with DEXi.
RA3.1 Assessment of crop protection strategies based on multicriteria methods
Leader: Franz Bigler (AGROS)
The current work programme includes a survey of current and alternative crop protection methods and pesticide use in major maize growing areas, and the development and application of the multicriteria assessment tool DEXi for ex-post assessment of crop protection strategies.
RA3.2 Analysis of economic driving forces related to crop protection systems
Leader: Gabriele Mack (AGROS)
The current work programme includes economic assessment of current crop protection systems, economic assessment of new innovative crop protection systems, explaining different crop protection strategies in pomefruit production by socio-economic driving forces and analysing the effect of pest regulation on the development of crop protection products.
RA3.3 Environmental risk and benefit assessment
Leader: Jõrn Strassemeyer (JKI)
The current work programme includes a review of biodiversity assessment methods and relevance to the evaluation of crop protection strategies at field and landscape level, harmonisation of environmental and spatial data according to SEIS and INSPIRE, and a GIS-based environmental risk analysis of the impact of advanced and innovative strategies in selected case study regions on the basis of currently used crop protection strategies.
RA3.4 Life Cycle Assessment (LCA)
Leader: Gérard Gaillard (AGROS)
The first and second phases of ENDURE showed the suitability of the LCA method as the basis for the environmental part of a multicriteria assessment of crop protection strategies. The focus is now on the application of LCA systems selected by the orchard system case study as well as the integration of the LCA results in the multicriteria assessment performed in RA3.1.
RA3.5 Societal assessment of current and novel low-input crop protection strategies
Leader: Claire Lamine (INRA)
The overall aim of RA3.5 is to identify, at various levels in the food chain, social and cultural factors affecting decisions, behaviours and practices that are relevant to the adoption of low-input strategies. These factors will serve to characterise social and cultural sustainability indicators for crop protection, and will be analysed at the societal production, food chain, research and extension levels. The current work programme includes study of how the governance and the structuration of research and extension activities enhances (or not) the development of sustainable crop protection strategies, the analysis of public controversies at EU, French and Dutch levels and interaction with ENDURE's other scientists and activities. A comparative study is being conducted of information, attitudes and decision-making with regard to extension services and farmers, analysis is being conducted on the influence of supermarkets in Western and Central Europe and possible evolutions, and the interactions with citizens, consumers and farmers at local scales is being examined.
Leader: Ian Denholm (RRES)
RA4's objectives are (i) to improve basic knowledge of the components of pest management that involve crop plant defences and the use of naturally occurring or introduced biocontrol agents and (ii) to investigate biological traits and modelling approaches relevant to controlling weeds with reduced reliance on pesticides.
RA4.2 Exploitation of plant genetic resistance
Leader: Charles-Eric Durel (INRA)
Two tasks are being completed at the moment: selection exerted by host resistance, which consists of experiments to evaluate selection pressures exerted by resistance genes on pest and pathogen populations, and modelling, which consists of making use of such biological information in modelling approaches devoted to deriving effective strategies of resistance deployment in time and space. In addition, RA4.2 will now be examining the contribution of genetic resistances for the design of alternative cropping systems (AS) and innovative systems (IS) and working towards ideotypes for AS and IS.
RA4.3 Exploitation of natural biological processes
Leaders: Bernard Blum (IBMA) and Michelina Ruocco (CNR)
RA4.3's action plan for the duration of ENDURE includes general considerations of biocontrol and a specific focus on crops covered by the case studies and system case studies:
Specifically, the current work programme includes critical analysis of the augmentative biocontrol of plant pathogens, the current status of research in conservation biological control in Europe, the outlook on the screening and experimental handling of biocontrol agents against plant pathogens and a concept for monitoring of the impact of biocontrol agents released in the environment.
RA4.5 Weed biology and management
Leader: Niels Holst (AU)
This sub-activity has the objective of developing a database and modelling tool to predict weed community dynamics under different management strategies and environmental conditions that is pertinent to both current and future growing conditions in the EU. A weed modelling tool is being developed and a statistical analysis of the Weed Traits Database is being conducted alongside the implementation of joint phenology experiments. The Weed Traits Database will be used to analyse trends in weed communities in the system case studies.