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807/213 Blight Control in Organic Crops

Publication Date: 
23 August 2011
Author/Contact :
Author/Contact: 
Carlo Leifert

Contractor :
Contractor: 
University of Newcastle upon Tyne

Full Research Project Title: A study to develop alternative strategies for the control of potato blight in organically grown crops
Duration: October 2000 - June 2005

Aim: To evaluate the options for the commercially viable production of organic potato crops without the use of copper fungicides.

Compared to conventional production, yields in organic potato production are estimated to be 30-40% lower, even when copper is used to delay blight development in crops. Copper fungicides are estimated to extend the growing period by 2-4 weeks. This is estimated to result in 10-40% higher yields compared to crops not protected with copper. 

The project included:

  • A review current blight control strategies and their effectiveness
  • An evaluation of plant, seaweed and humic extracts for blight control
  • An evaluation of the effectiveness of combining novel disease control strategies with existing agronomic methods

No commercially viable alternative treatments for copper fungicides, that would be acceptable under organic farming standards were identified.

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