Important legal notice
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Agriculture - Planting the seeds for sustainable farming and forestry
"Replacing copper fungicides in organic agriculture"

The problem

European organic crops can use copper fungicides with applications of up to 38 kg copper per ha permitted from 2002 until 2006. Permitted amounts will be reduced thereafter to avoid environmental risks (Council Regulation (EEC) 2092/91, Annex II). Downy mildew (Plasmopara viticola – Pv) in grapevine and scab (Venturia inaequalis – Vi) in apple are both pests currently treated with copper-based fungicides, REPCO will contribute to the search for replacement fungicides suitable for organic agriculture.

REPCO  Agriculture - Planting the seeds for sustainable farming and forestry


Potential stimulants to resistance, organically-based fungicides and bio-control agents will be screened and evaluated in grapevine and apple. The risk of pathogen development during use of novel control measures and effects of organic crop management practices on over-wintering downy mildew (Pv) in grapevine and scab (Vi) will be assessed. Novel disease control measures and knowledge will integrated into organic management systems. 'Pipeline' products already under development elsewhere will be included and their application optimized through a series of field trials.

Contribution to policy development:

  • The project will help to underpin EU environmental sustainability policies
  • There will be improved knowledge on the environmental and socio-economic implications of both using and not using copper-based fungicides in agriculture
  • Proposals will be developed for harmonised organic agriculture practice across the EU and within accession and candidate countries

Project deliverables

  • Effects of eight treatments for Plasmopara viticol (Pv)  and Venturia inaequalis (Vi) control – October 2004, 2005, 2006
  • Methods for enhancement of leaf decomposition by earthworms – May 2005, October 2006
  • Estimation of risk of forced development of Pv & Vi – October 2005
  • Effects of culture practice on microbial populations in apple leaves – October 2005
  • Results of various field trials – October 2006
  • Ecology and population dynamics of most promising antagonists – October 2006
  • Enhancement of beneficial micro-organisms by culture practice – October 2006
  • Methods for increasing earthworm populations – October 2006
  • Final report – October 2006


  • A project website will present objectives, participants and progress
  • Significant findings will be submitted for publication in peer-review scientific journals
  • Project progress newsletters will be circulated to the trade press, professional bodies and consumer groups

Technical information

Project acronym: REPCO
Project’s official full title: Replacement of Copper Fungicides in Organic Production of Grapevine and Apple in Europe
Specific webpage:
Proposal/contract no: 501452
Start date: November 2003
Kick off meeting: November 2003
Completion date:October 2006
European Commission scientific officer: Danièle Tissot Boireau

Coordinator: Dr. Jürgen Köhl
Name: Plant Research International
Abbreviated name: PantRI
Address: Bornsesteeg 65, P.O. Box 16, 6700 AA Wageningen
Country: The Netherlands
Tel: +31.317.47001
Fax: +31.317.418094


Name: Staatliches Weinbauinstitut
Abbreviated name: WBI
Country: Germany         

Name: Research Institute of Organic Agriculture
Abbreviated name: FiBL
Country: Switzerland

Name: Swiss Federal Institute of Technology Zürich
Abbreviated name: ETHZ
Country: Switzerland

Name: Istituto Agrario di San Michele all’Adige
Abbreviated name: IASMA
Country: Italy

Name: Groupe de Recherche en Agriculture Biologique
Abbreviated name: GRAB
Country: France

Name: Applied Plant Research
Abbreviated name: PPO
Country: The Netherlands

Name: The Royal Veterinary and Agricultural University
Abbreviated name: KVL
Country: Denmark

Name: Danish Institute of Agricultural Sciences
Abbreviated name: DIAS
Country: Denmark

Abbreviated name: ECOVIN
Country: Germany

Name: BioFruitAdvies
Abbreviated name: BioFruitAdvies
Country: The Netherlands 

Name: Prophyta
Abbreviated name: Prophyta
Country: Germany