Intercropping as a solution to control pests and diseases in soft fruit?
Intercropping is the cultivation of two or more crops in the same field at the same time. There are several benefits of intercropping for an agroecosystem such as an increased production, greater use of environmental resources, protection against drought or erosion. On top of this, the potential to reduce the incidence of pests and diseases is a very important advantage. This is however not straight forward and both positive and negative effects of intercropping have been observed. The spread of plant pests and diseases can be restricted by species and variety diversity. In monocropping, pests and diseases can more easily adapt and evolve, triggered by the selection of strains resulting in a higher virulence and higher pest attack. In this project we want to characterise these biological and genetical adaptations. In Western condition, there are no studies related to intercropping on soft fruit on species level and therefore this project was started.
Raspberries and black berries were planted in row intercropping (growing the two crops planted in regular rows); mixed intercropping (growing the two crops with no distinct row arrangement) and monocropping. For 3 years, we will look at the two-spotted spider mite Tetranychus urticae, fruit rot Botrytis cinerea, Asiatic fruit fly Drosophila suzukii and aphids Amphorophora spp.. For B. cinerea and T. urticae genetic fingerprints are developed and tested in this parcel, compared to farms with intercropping and monocropping. We will finally also test trap plants or indicator plants to control D. suzukii. These berries are organically grown.
2 kleinfruitbedrijven (1 met intercropping – 1 met monocultuur)