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New Zealand Plant Protection 63 (2010): 138-144

Towards reduced reliance on fungicides for disease control in New Zealand's crop-based industries

R.M. Beresford

ABSTRACT

The challenge faced by New Zealand's fruit, vegetable and arable sectors is to reduce the negative impacts of fungicides on market access, environmental sustainability and consumer confidence, while at the same time achieving adequate disease control for export market and international regulatory requirements. Controlling diseases in a humid climate with ever increasing restrictions on agrichemicals and few effective alternatives to fungicides requires re-design of disease management systems. Research into re-design includes improved resistance of crop cultivars, improved understanding of microbial interactions between fungicides, biological controls and non-target microbes and completely novel methods based on molecular genetics. Disease forecasting systems can improve the efficiency of fungicide use. The success of new approaches must measured by a reduction in fungicide loading. Success depends on the linking of new research to effective technology transfer that will give crop-based industries courage to try new methods and the confidence to know they are not risking their economic viability.

Keywords: fungicide loading, fruit, vegetable, arable, low-input agricultural systems.

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