Innovative IPM tools for managing major diseases on grapevine

Tito Caffi1, Laura Mugnai2, Maddalena Benanchi2, Ilaria Pertot3, Andrea Colombini3, Sara E. Legler4, Jörn Strassemeyer5, Vittorio Rossi1

1 Istituto di Entomologia e Patologia vegetale, Università Cattolica del Sacro Cuore, via E. Parmense 84, I-29122 Piacenza, Italy

2 Dipartimento di Scienze delle Produzioni Agroalimentari e dell’Ambiente, sez. Patologia vegetale ed Entomologia, Università degli Studi di Firenze, Piazzal delle Cascine 18, I-50144 Firenze, Italy

3 Dipartimento Agroecosistemi Sostenibili e Biorisorse del CRI e coordinatrice del gruppo di ricerca Interazioni negli Agro-ecosistemi Fondazione Edmund Mach, via E. Mach 1, San Michele all’Adige, Italy

4 Horta srl, via E. Gorra 55, I-29122 Piacenza, Italy

5 Julius Kühn-Institute, Federal Research Centre for Cultivated Plants, Stahnsdorfer Damm 81, G-14532 Kleinmachnow, Germany

Downy and powdery mildews represent a major threat for all grape-growers worldwide. In particular, in areas characterized by temperate climate with abundant rainfall in spring and warm-dry conditions in summer, as most of the grape growing areas in Europe, it is necessary a constant application of fungicides in order to avoid severe yield losses. These factors lead to a spray scheduling almost calendar-based that is on average of 14-18 treatments per year.

During the EU-FP7 funded project PURE (http://www.pure-ipm.eu) the application of a Decision Support System (DSS) named vite.net® aimed to rationalize the application of fungicides was tested under farming conditions in different grape growing areas in the North and Central Italy. Moreover, the application of a biocontrol agent (BCA) based on Ampelomyces spp. was also tested by on farm experiments in order to reduce the overwintering inoculum of Erysiphe necator, the causal agent of powdery mildew.  The adoption of the DSS over the 3-year period allowed the farms involved into the project to receive more information about the diseases development and the efficacy of the protection provided by the last fungicide sprayed allowing a reduction of 20% in the number of treatments that increased to a saving of 30% considering the reatment Frequency Index over a 3-year period. 

The use of Ampelomyces against powdery mildew overwintering inoculum tested during the project confirmed the potential of this BCA for sanitation treatments enabling to reduce the disease primary inoculum in highly powdery mildew affected vineyards and delaying the trigger of the powdery mildew epidemic in the following season. These results were particularly appreciable in those areas where the application of the BCA were possible at the yellow maturation stage of the chasmothecia.

The availability of these innovative techniques allowed a more flexible disease management strategies with the achieved goal of health bunches at harvest, the same yield as the standard IPM practices and a more sustainable use of pesticides.

Cropping system: 
The research leading to these results has received funding from the European Union Seventh Framework Programme (FP7/ 2007-2013) under the grant agreement n°265865- PURE