Botrytis warning system provides strawberry growers with a tool for more sustainable production

Only spraying against Botrytis when this is really necessary. This is the principle of a warning system for Botrytis in strawberry developed by Applied Plant Research (PPO) and Agrovision, a software company for the agricultural sector.

Fruit rot (Botrytis) is one of the major diseases in strawberry. The fungus hits during flowering but only shows up in the fruit. This makes the fruit unsaleable. Strawberry growers are regularly spraying against the fungus to protect their crop against infestation.

Strawberry with botrytis
Strawberry with botrytis

Such regular spraying according to schedule does indeed protect the crop but has a major disadvantage. Growers are using more product than strictly necessary because they are also spraying when there is no risk of the fungus infesting the plant.

Stringent demands supermarkets

This system seems to come to an end. Supermarkets are increasingly laying down stricter demands as regards residues of crop protection products on the crop. This results in their demands being stricter than those laid down by law in order to meet consumer demands.

The new Botrytis warning system means that strawberry growers need to spray less frequently and it also makes it easier for them to meet supermarket demands. The researchers of PPO have developed, tested and optimised this system together with Agrovision. Growers can now especially save on spraying in dryer periods, which is good for purse, consumer and environment.

Alert every day

The system warns when there is a chance of infestation and indicates whether spraying is necessary. This does mean that growers need to be alert every day. A number of strawberry growers are now using the system.

The researchers and Agrovision are meanwhile expanding the warning system to deal with another important fungal disease: powdery mildew.