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Initiative to combat spider mite in Italy

23/11/2021 - Press release , François-Xavier Branthôme
The PSR (Rural Development Plan) GOI I.D.RA (Innovazione della Difesa fitosanitaria contro il Ragnetto Rosso) (Operational Group of Innovation for Phytosanitary Defense against the Red Spider) project was presented, which aims to find a sustainable and effective strategy to combat the presence in the field of the spider mite, the mite that threatens the production of industrial tomatoes.

For two years the project partners have been working on questionnaires, experimenting with new guidelines, surveys in the field of spider populations, efficacy tests of agro pharmaceuticals, training and dissemination in support of farmers. Activities that were illustrated during a conference organized by the Terrepadane Agricultural Consortium and OI Pomodoro da Industria from Northern Italy.

The identikit of the project
The project, which began in 2019 (see related articles below), will end in spring 2022 and has a total value of Euro 250 000, of which 180 000 financed by the Emilia-Romagna Region as part of the Rural Development Plan. Partners are the Terrepadane Agricultural Consortium (lead body), the OI Pomodoro da Industria del Nord Italia, the Catholic University of the Sacred Heart of Piacenza, the Op Ainpo, the Tadini Training Center, and four farms located in the most affected area in the southern area of the province of Piacenza.

The activities
The OI Pomodoro da Industria del Nord Italia collected information to try to identify the predisposing factors for spider mite infestations from 100 farms located between Piacenza and Parma, through questionnaires, with the collaboration of OP Ainpo, Asipo and Poa. The data collected was analyzed by the Catholic Sacred Heart University of Piacenza which then drafted a proposal for new guidelines aimed at the prevention and control of spider mites in the field, in compliance with the integrated production regulations.

In the four partner farms of the Terrepadane project, with the support of the OP Ainpo, it carried out field tests in order to make a comparison on the application of these guidelines.

The university monitored the presence of spider mites in the area, collecting numerous populations in the field and classifying in the laboratory, carrying out tests for the evaluation of resistance to pesticides during which both the direct activity of the products and the effect of mixtures were verified (tank mix). Finally, it conducted tests on the effectiveness of the crop protection products currently in use.

The Tadini Training Center has carried out specific training activities for the various professional categories: farmers, OP technicians and agro pharmaceutical retailers. The courses, also enriched with the new indications emerging from the project, aimed to deepen and update the knowledge on these mites. A meeting is also planned with the processing tomato production district of Portugal to discuss the tools and ways in which the fight against the spider mite is tackled in the various European territories.

The technical-scientific results of the project will be complete by the beginning of 2022. The OI has appointed a communication expert in the environmental field to convey the contents in an innovative way, achieving a double objective: to disseminate technical and scientific information and to provide support to the farmer in orienting him in the fight against spider mites, knowing that he can count on the various skills of an integrated and collaborative supply chain.

The first indications
The first indications concern the results of tests on agro pharmaceuticals which show how an adequate rotation of the active ingredients has re-evaluated the effectiveness of the molecules in use. The effectiveness of the new products has also been confirmed, with the recommendation not to abuse it. Investigations on the resistance of spider populations have also revealed that those present in the most affected areas have acquired genetic resistance to oocides.

President Rabboni's comment:
"About two years after the start of the project, and despite the operational difficulties caused by Covid - declares Tiberio Rabboni, president of the OI Industrial Tomato of Northern Italy - Goi Idra is proceeding with some first interesting results in terms of new knowledge, as well for crop protection practices, according to the research and experimentation program proposed by the group and approved by the Emilia Romagna Region. I am sure that at the end of the project the agricultural world and the tomato processing industry will have a renewed ability to fight the red spider. We are pleased to give our contribution to the project and to collaborate with extremely motivated and competent partners ".

Source: OI Pomodoro da industria del Nord Italia
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