Gray mold control in vineyards through predictive models and biocontrol agents

Biocontrol agents (BCAs) represent alternative products to synthetic fungicides, with low risk for both the environment and human health. Although several studies on the biocontrol of gray mold in the vineyard were performed, it is necessary to improve their use in the field. BCAs were used both in a calendar-based strategy (based on treatments A, B, C and D) and one based on the use of a predictive model (only when Botrytis cinerea infection risk was predicted by the model); four different BCAs were selected, to be applied according to the target (infection pathway and plant substrate) for each application. Treatments performed with BCA were compared to a synthetic fungicide and an untreated control. To evaluate the efficacy of each treatment, field assessments were carried out at harvest and to evaluate the presence of latent infections. The trials were conducted in three experimental vineyards, in the 2022 and 2023 seasons. The results showed how the use of BCAs and the predictive model represent a valid alternative to conventional methods of gray mold control in the vineyard, with a reduction in the number of fungicide treatments of more than 75%.