Project SummaryControlling weed growth is one of the most important cultural measures in fruit growing, as competition from weeds can have a negative impact on yield and quality of the crop, as well as increase the risk of pathogens. The use of herbicides is globally the most widely used method, for production-related and economic reasons. Due to the current public discussion on the use of individual active substances in agriculture, the future situation for European fruit growers concerning the authorization of herbicides is also uncertain. Fruit growing requires, therefore, innovative approaches and efficient alternatives for the predictable bottlenecks concerning the approval of chemical weed control agents, as well as with respect to sustainable fruit production with environmentally friendly and successful strategies. This is in accordance with Directive 2009/128/EC of the European parliament and of the council, from October 2009, establishing a framework for Community action to achieve the sustainable use of pesticides, which inter alia provides for the promotion of alternative methods or processes such as non-chemical alternatives to pesticides. In order to meet the challenges facing fruit growers in the European countries, the project will jointly develop new strategies for weed control in a holistic approach at various North/West European locations (Germany, Switzerland, Belgium, France, Austria) and investigate their effects on the soil as well as on the crop. In the case of apple as the most important fruit crop in Europe, the area under cultivation in the EU is over 500,000 ha and the production volume over 10 million tons. The aim of the project is to enable European fruit growers to use future-proof production methods and at the same time to contribute to a resource-saving, sustainable production of food. The participation of numerous partners from research and practice in different countries enables an optimal transfer of the results into fruit growing practice.
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