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Agriculture 2016, 6(1), 3; doi:10.3390/agriculture6010003

Sustainability Assessment of Plant Protection Strategies in Swiss Winter Wheat and Potato Production

1
Agroscope, Institute for Sustainability Sciences, Reckenholzstrasse 191, Zürich CH-8046, Switzerland
2
Agroscope, Institute for Plant Production Sciences, Route de Duillier 50, P.O. Box 1012, Nyon 1 CH-1260, Switzerland
3
Agroscope, Institute for Plant Production Sciences, Schloss 1, P.O. Box, Wädenswil CH-8820, Switzerland
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Academic Editor: Stephen J. Herbert
Received: 7 September 2015 / Accepted: 14 December 2015 / Published: 11 January 2016
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Sustainable Agriculture)
View Full-Text   |   Download PDF [655 KB, uploaded 14 January 2016]   |  

Abstract

Production of arable crops in Switzerland is subsidized for services performed within the Proof of Ecological Performance (PEP) program, the crop protection part of which is based on IPM principles. Within PEP, chemical insect control must rely on those approved insecticides that are deemed harmless for beneficial arthropods. Approved insecticides potentially impacting beneficial arthropods may also be applied, but only if unavoidable and with an official permit. In order to assess the ecological and economic sustainability of this PEP program, a reference insecticide strategy illustrating the current PEP requirements was compared with other strategies. For this purpose, a sustainability assessment taking account of ecotoxicological risks and economic viability in addition to the preservation of beneficial arthropods was performed according to the SustainOS methodology. The results show that the one-off use of Audienz (spinosad) to control cereal leaf beetle (Oulema melanopus)—a key pest in winter wheat—would significantly improve sustainability vis-à-vis the reference (Nomolt (teflubenzuron) plus Biscaya (thiacloprid)). However, in the case of the Colorado potato beetle (Leptinotarsa decemlineata), in potato crops, where Audienz is considered the reference, no alternative would exhibit better sustainability. Moreover, the study shows that strategies using Novodor (Bacillus thuringiensis) protect beneficial species well but have the drawbacks of increased yield risk and higher costs. The conclusions drawn from these analyses allow recommendations for modifications of the PEP requirements for these two pest insects. The SustainOS methodology, a multi-step process combining expert knowledge with quantitative assessments including a sensitivity analysis of key target parameters and a rule-based aggregation of assessment results, yielded valuable insights into the sustainability of different crop protection strategies. View Full-Text
Keywords: sustainable agriculture; plant protection strategies; winter wheat; potato; full cost calculation; ecological risk assessment; Oulema melanopus; Leptinotarsa decemlineata sustainable agriculture; plant protection strategies; winter wheat; potato; full cost calculation; ecological risk assessment; Oulema melanopus; Leptinotarsa decemlineata
This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited. (CC BY 4.0).

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MDPI and ACS Style

Mouron, P.; Calabrese, C.; Breitenmoser, S.; Spycher, S.; Baur, R. Sustainability Assessment of Plant Protection Strategies in Swiss Winter Wheat and Potato Production. Agriculture 2016, 6, 3.

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