Watch RELACS’ new video about copper replacement in oil rose plantation

A new RELACS video explores the work and research currently pursued in the Rose Valley in Bulgaria. Organic farmers are researching replacements of traditional copper Plant Protection Products (PPP) sometimes used in organic farming.

What is the issue?
Both rust on the rose and black leaf spots are economically important diseases in the oil bearing rose, since they significantly impact the plant. In the first case, favourable conditions like hot weather and humidity can lead to the fungus infection, reducing the yield of rose blossom up to 30-50% in some years. Black leaf spots on the other hand, typically appear late May and early June and may also reduce the yield in some years between 30-50% and lead to defoliation of plants. Importantly, this premature defoliation reduces yield in subsequent years.

How can organic farmers solve this?
BIOSELENA, the Bulgarian Foundation for Organic Agriculture, is testing 4 alternative products for replacing PPP’s, comparing alternatives’ effects with the effect of a traditional product. The new tested Plant Protection Products as well as the traditional copper hydroxide are contact fungicides. For them, the weather forecast must be monitored very carefully, and the climate conditions must be followed to limit the attack of economically important diseases and to obtain more stable results in disease control.

What are the results?
Rose blossoms from separate sections are harvested each morning, weighed, then distilled, including reference and control sections, to compare the yield of rose blossom and rose oil. The institute has been implementing this experiment for three years and already reported results for the first two years. These show the protective effect of new products is comparable to traditionally used PPPs’. The yield of rose blossom is between 8-15% higher in the new tested products and the yield of rose oil increased by 10-12%, leading the path for promising alternatives in organic farming.

The work BIOSELENA is carrying out is summarised in a new video in collaboration with the RELACS project and the Institute for Roses and Aromatic Plants.

RELACS seeks to promote the development and adoption of environmentally safe and economically viable tools and technologies to reduce the use of external inputs in organic farming systems. IFOAM Organics Europe is responsible for the communication and dissemination of project results as well as the coordination of the science-practice policy dialogue.

RELACS has received funding from the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme under grant agreement No 773431. This communication only reflects the author’s view. The Research Executive Agency is not responsible for any use that may be made of the information provided.

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