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20 April 2017
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Innovative strategies for copper-free low input and organic farming systems

Acronym:

Co-Free

Contract period:

1 January 2012 to 30 June 2016

Project webpage:

http://www.co-free.eu

Main funder:

EU Framework Programme 7

Contact staff at ORC:

Dr. Jo Smith

Project aims

Copper-free production systems will be achieved by:

  1. Providing alternative compounds
  2. Developing ‘Smart’ application tools
  3. Integrating these tools into traditional and novel copper-free crop production systems.
  4. The copper-free apple, grapevine, potato and tomato production systems will be evaluated in a multi-criteria assessment with respect to agronomic, ecologic and economic performance.
  5. CO-FREE will also develop strategies to develop ‘smart’ breeding goals by development of crop ideotypes
  6. Foster consumer acceptance of novel disease-resistant cultivars by consumers and retailers.

By involving farmers, advisors, plant protection industry, policy makers and researchers as well as the stakeholders of the European organic and low input sector (food supply chain, retailers, producers associations), CO-FREE will ensure a rapid development, dissemination and adoption of the copper replacement strategies.

ORC's role

On a long-term perspective, apple production systems need to be developed towards more sustainability and less dependency on external inputs. Truly innovative production systems that reduce the overall dependency on external inputs will be explored and further developed in order to offer more sustainable production systems in the foreseeable future. ORC will evaluate a the potential and the limits of agro-forestry based apple production systems as a sustainable strategy for replacing copper inputs in organic and low input systems using Wakelyns and Whitehall Farm as case studies. Research will focus on four elements that are likely to be impacted by an agro-forestry systems approach to no-copper use, (i) yield and quality of apple and arable crops (including profit margins), (ii) impact on management activities, (iii) emergence of primary and secondary pests and diseases, and (iv) impact on ecosystem services and functionality.

Current progress highlights

Project starts Jan 2012

Project leader and partners

Project Leader: JULIUS KUHN-INSTITUT BUNDESFORSCHUNGSINSTITUT FUR KULTURPFLANZEN (JKI), Germany
FORSCHUNGSINSTITUT FUR BIOLOGISCHENLANDBAU STIFTUNG, Switzerland
FONDAZIONE EDMUND MACH, Italy
STICHTING DIENST LANDBOUWKUNDIG ONDERZOEK, Netherlands
BENAKI PHYTOPATHOLOGICAL INSTITUTE, Greece
INSTITUT NATIONAL DE LA RECHERCHE AGRONOMIQUE, France
INSTYTUT OCHRONY ROSLIN - PANSTOWOWY INSTYTUT BADAWCZY, Poland
INSTITUT TECHNIQUE DE L AGRICULTURE BIOLOGIQUE, France
CENTRO DI SPERIMENTAZIONE AGRARIA E FORESTALE LAIMBURG AZIENDA, Italy
LOUIS BOLK INSTITUUT, Netherlands
UNIVERSITAET KASSEL, Germany
AKINAO SAS, France
AGRO-LEVURES ET DERIVES SAS, France
BIO FRUIT ADVIES BV, Netherlands
CERADIS BV, Netherlands
FYTOFEND SA, Belgium
NOR-NATUR APS, Denmark
Trifolio-M GmbH, Germany
E-NEMA GESELLSCHAFT FUER BIOTECHNOLOGIE UND BIOLOGISCHEN PFLANZENSCHUTZ mbH, Germany

Publications

The first newsletter of the project published May 2013 includes:

  • Who is who in Co-free? An introduction to two of the project partners (Julius Kühn-Institut (JKI) and FiBL)
  • Development of strategies to foster acceptance of new varieties
  • How did novel CO-FREE products perform in the first year of field experiments?
  • Exchange with stakeholders and experts in the field
  • To download the newsletter or subscribe click here

    Various ways for successful Cultivar introduction in the market (1.54mb pdf file)

    Other output

    Final publishable report on evaluation of novel agroforestry-based apple production systems (Dec 2015)