Biopesticides as alternatives to reduce the use of copper in Spanish and Portuguese viticulture: Main trends in adoption

European Journal of Agronomy(2023)

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The traditional use of copper as a fungicide in vineyards has raised concerns among authorities as it increases environmental pollution. As a result, new regulations have been enacted to reduce the use of plant protection products while encouraging the use of biological pesticides, which are less harmful to the environment. In this study, we surveyed two of the most relevant countries in terms of vine cultivation: Spain and Portugal. The objective of this study was to analyse the factors influencing the use of copper-based fungicides and their biological alternatives to provide a framework for state-of-the-art downy mildew control. This has led to some forward-thinking on the applicability of EU objectives. A probabilistic LogiT model was used to observe the field and exploitation variables that influenced winegrowers’ use of biopesticides. Given its great reliance on copper, it can be concluded that copper is still a necessary product for viticulture. Moreover, because the use of synthetic products is prohibited in organic vineyards, more copper treatments are carried out. Although the intention to use biopesticides exists, this did not result in actual use. The most influential factor in the probability of biopesticide use is knowledge of the legislation; however, it is also important to have watercourses near the field and to have the necessary technology. These results are relevant for formulating recommendations to ensure that all information reaches small farmers, as this would be key to more sustainable agriculture in Europe.
Copper, Crop protection, Fungicides, Organic production, Vineyards
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