Eco-friendly Plant Protection
Within a collaborative project, researchers from RWTH contributed to the development of a process reducing the use of copper in plant protection products.
With the help of an innovative plant protection strategy, which involved the application of water-based and more traditional plant protection products, it was possible to reduce the use of environmentally harmful copper in organic farming by about 40 percent.
Controlled by a newly developed prognostic software, the researchers used a 0.5 to 0.6 percent sodium hypochlorite solution generated with the help of Electrical Chemical Activation technology. The software draws on regional weather data and forecasts for the targeted use of the water-based aqua.protect plant protection product, which can be effectively applied in certain time periods only. The process has been successfully tested over a four-year period in wine and potato cultivation.
The research consortium was led by Professor Ulrich Schaffrath from the RWTH Department of Plant Physiology. Project partners included the Institute of Plant Diseases of the University of Bonn, the Julius-Kühn-Institute for Biological Control, Darmstadt, the “Dienstleistungszentrum für den ländlichen Raum Rheinpfalz,” Neustadt (Services Center for the Rural Areas in the Rheinpfalz), and the private companies ARGUS monitoring and aquagroup AG.
The project, which was initiated in 2013 and has been coordinated by the Federal Office for Agriculture and Food, has received funding from the Federal Ministry of Food, Agriculture and Consumer Protection.