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FiBL project

Title Potential and Limits of Pesticide Free Apple Growing by a Self-Regulating Orchard Set-Up
Official Acronym SFS
FiBL project number 1500301

Different research groups have already proven that flowering plants in orchards can enhance beneficial arthropods. Various beneficials can be supported by selected plant species even within the tree rows. In most experimental work done to stabilize the apple production system, only single interaction effects were tested. Until now no research group has quantified the additive effects of multiple measures on system biodiversity and on the production economy.

This experiment combines all known measures of indirect pest and disease control in a near-to-practical production model orchard managed without any pesticide (not even organic ones). The orchard is split in 4 blocks: in two of them bio-control measures (e.g. application of Granulosis Virus against codling moth -C. Pomonella-) are applied; the other two blocks do not receive any bio-control application.The standard commercial organic and integrated orchards (with the disease-susceptible cultivar Gala) grown in the vicinity of the model orchard are assessed by the same methods and serve as a reference.

Our intermediate results reveal that the self-regulating orchard developed already in the 2nd and 3rd leaf a clearly higher flora and fauna biodiversity compared to the reference orchards. The same happened in relation to the specific fruit beneficials e.g. the populations of aphid predators. In the self-regulating orchard they were able to keep the aphid damages – in particular of the powdery apple aphid (D. plantaginea) - on trees and fruits under a commercially relevant level, although the initial abundance of aphid colonies in spring was by far over the common threshold value. The experiment will be conducted until 2016.

Project website


Project status completed
Start of project 01.01.2005
End of project 31.12.2016
Financing/ Donor
  • BLW
  • pancivis
  • Dreiklang
  • Hans Eggenberger Stiftung
  • Paul Schiller Stiftung
(Research) Programme
  • Federal Office for Agriculture (FOAG) – Research, training and innovation
Project partners

Agroscope Wädenswil

Project Advisory Board


FiBL project leader/ contact
  • Weibel Franco
FiBL project staff
Role of FiBL

Project leader

Research area
Date modified 14.06.2019
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