Organic Farming and Cover-Crop Management Reduce Pest Predation in Austrian Vineyards
Institute for Environmental Sciences, University of Koblenz-Landau, iES Landau, Fortstraße 7, D-76829 Landau in der Pfalz, Germany
Julius Kühn Institute, Federal Research Institute for Cultivated Plants, Institute for Plant Protection in Fruit Crops and Viticulture, Geilweilerhof, D-76833 Siebeldingen, Germany
Institute of Plant Protection, University of Natural Resources and Life Sciences, Gregor-Mendel-Str. 33, A-1180 Vienna, Austria
Institute for Integrative Nature Conservation Research, University of Natural Resources and Life Sciences, Gregor-Mendel-Str. 33, A-1180 Vienna, Austria
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Academic Editors: Daniele Sommaggio, David G. James and Giovanni Burgio
Received: 30 January 2021
Revised: 23 February 2021
Accepted: 27 February 2021
Published: 4 March 2021
Global declines in arthropods necessitate a rethinking of current agricultural practices. Organic farming, complex landscapes with high proportions of seminatural habitats and local vineyard management practices such as implementation of flower-rich cover-crop mixtures may be a promising approach to enhance arthropod biodiversity and, thus, natural pest control in viticulture. We examined effects of organic farming, different types of vineyard inter-row vegetation, and landscape composition on natural pest control of a major grapevine pest, the grape berry moth Lobesia botrana, and identified its dominant natural enemies. Surprisingly, natural pest control was reduced by sown cover-crops and organic farming. Interestingly, bush crickets were one of the most dominant natural enemies in the Austrian study region. Negative effects of organic farming in our study are most likely related to high fungicide inputs. Thus, a promising approach to reduce fungicide input and, therefore, promote a more sustainable viticulture may be the implementation of fungus-resistant grape varieties.