Optimisation of alternative products for disease management in vineyards

Resistance inducers (RIs) of natural origin and biocontrol agents (BCAs) are promising alternatives to conventional methods for the management of diseases in vineyard. These products, however, need to be better characterized in order to define new and more successful application strategies, in terms of both efficacy and sustainability.

In NOVATERRA project, UCSC and SOGRAPE are evaluating various commercial RIs for investigating i) their effectiveness against Plasmopara viticola and Erysiphe necator, and ii) their preventive effectiveness over time. The results of “readiness” and duration of effectiveness for each product will be used to guide the RIs application and to overcome the current use of resistance inducers, which is focused on fixed intervals treatments rather than the real disease risk.

Regarding the BCAs, UCSC is conducting studies to identify the conditions of temperature and moisture for the BCA and the pathogen Botrytis cinerea to grow and survive on different plant materials corresponding to the main infection pathways for the pathogen, i.e., bunch trash and berries in different ripening stages.

The collected information will be used to study the pathogen – BCA relationships based on their environmental niches. Environmental niches will be then combined in such a way to provide guidelines for the identification of the best BCA to be recommended based on the vine growth stage, the target infection pathway, and weather conditions.

The understanding of the optimal conditions for maximizing the efficacy of the alternative products would allow overcoming limitations in their current use and would contribute to the reduction of chemicals used for plant protection in vineyards.