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Organic production of raspberries in high tunnels in Sweden, 2008-2014

Svensson, B.
Acta horticulturae 2016 no.1133 pp. 211-216
Aphis (Aphididae), Botrytis cinerea, Didymella applanata, Phyllocoptes gracilis, autumn, climate, control methods, cultivars, double cropping, fertilizer application, field experimentation, floricanes, fruits, growing season, harvesting, leaves, mites, nitrogen, organic foods, organic production, pests, plant protection, pot culture, primocanes, rapeseed oil, raspberries, shoots, soaps, soil, spraying, Scandinavia, Sweden
Organic raspberry cultivation places heavy demands on climate and environment to achieve sufficiently profitable production in the Nordic countries. High plastic tunnels provide excellent opportunities for safe production of high-quality berries. A project with multiannual production of floricane and primocane raspberries was established in 2008 at Rånna Experimental Station, Skövde, Sweden (58°27'1”N, 13°49'51”E). During part one of the project, treatments comprising three cultivars of each raspberry type, growing floricanes in soil or pots, two levels of nitrogen and single or double crops of primocanes were compared in field trials. A need for crop protection measures suitable for organic raspberry production became apparent and part two of the project focused on control of raspberry leaf and bud mite (Phyllocoptes gracilis) and small raspberry aphid (Aphis idaei). The results of part one revealed two very good cultivars for organic production in tunnels, the floricane 'Glen Ample' and the primocane 'Polka'. Maintaining a sustainable substrate and organic fertilisation in pot culture of raspberries for more than one season proved difficult and the best yield and quality were achieved by growing in soil. The optimal level of nitrogen was found to be 12-17 g organic nitrogen per plant and season. Fertiliser needed to be applied during the growing season. A double crop of primocanes was achieved only when lower-positioned lateral shoots did not emerge in the previous autumn. In part two of the project, acceptable control of raspberry leaf and bud mite was achieved with biweekly rapeseed oil and soap treatment, in combination with late autumn treatments. Small raspberry aphid was sufficiently controlled by early spraying with a pyrethrum product (Raptol) at bud burst and a second spraying two weeks later. Botrytis cinerea was not observed on fruits during the six harvesting years of the project. Raspberry cane diseases such as Didymella applanata and Botrytis cinerea occurred to some extent during the project period, but did not require any control measures. Overall, the project results demonstrate profitable organic production of high-quality floricane and primocane raspberries with adequate control of common pests.