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A Quantitative Synthesis of the Efficacy and Profitability of Conventional and Biological Fungicides for Botrytis Fruit Rot Management on Strawberry in Florida

Cordova, Leandro G., Dalla Lana, Felipe, Paul, Pierce A., Peres, Natalia A.
Plant disease 2019 v.103 no.10 pp. 2505-2511
Botrytis, captan, crop production, cyprodinil, decision making, field experimentation, fludioxonil, fruit growing, growers, growing season, meta-analysis, models, pesticide application, plant rots, probability, profitability, strawberries, thiram, Florida
Botrytis fruit rot (BFR) is a major disease that affects strawberry production in Florida and worldwide. BFR management relies on frequent fungicide applications. A meta-analysis was conducted on the outcomes from nine field trials to evaluate the efficacy and profitability of conventional and biological fungicides compared with a nontreated control (NTC). All trials were conducted in Florida between the 2005/06 and 2016/17 growing seasons. Fungicide treatments were applied weekly, and plots were harvested twice a week for yield and BFR incidence quantification. Treatments were grouped into four categories: NTC, multisite only (Thiram), Standard (captan alternated with fludioxonil + cyprodinil), and Bacillus. Following primary analyses, a random effects network meta-analytical model was fitted to estimate the mean yield and BFR incidence responses for each treatment group and to compare means between pairs of groups. The Thiram and the Standard treatment groups increased yield by 378.8 and 502.2 kg/ha/week, respectively, compared with the NTC. The yield difference between Bacillus and NTC was not statistically significant. Besides increasing yield, Thiram and Standard also reduced BFR incidence by approximately 10% compared with the NTC. The mean yield responses and among-study variability from the meta-analysis were used to estimate the probability of a given yield response in a new future trial. The Standard and Thiram treatment groups showed higher estimated probabilities of increasing yield and resulting in a profitable return on application investments than the Bacillus group of treatments. The results from this study provide growers with information that will aid their decision-making process regarding BFR management.