Innovative strategies for copper-free low input and organic farming systems (2012-2015)

The project aims to develop innovative methods, tools and concepts for the replacement of copper in European organic and low input fruit, grapevine, potato, and tomato production systems. Copper-free production systems will be achieved by (i) providing alternative compounds, (ii) ‘smart’ application tools and (iii) by integrating these tools into traditional and novel copper-free crop production systems. The copper-free apple, grapevine, potato and tomato production systems will be (iv) evaluated in a multi-criteria assessment with respect to agronomic, ecologic and economic performance. CO-FREE will also develop strategies to develop (v) ‘smart’ breeding goals by development of crop ideotypes and (vi) foster consumer acceptance of novel disease-resistant cultivars by consumers and retailers. By involving farmers, advisors, plant protection industry, policy makers and researchers as well as the stakeholders of the European organic and low input sector (food supply chain, retailers, producers associations), CO-FREE will ensure a rapid development, dissemination and adoption of the copper replacement strategies. The multidisciplinary consortium proposed for the project includes 11 academic and 10 industry (all SMEs) partners from 11 European countries. All partner institutions are leaders in their respective fields and/or are leading providers of advisory services to farmers, retailers, policy makers and other stakeholders in the organic and low input sector.
The role of the groups (Organic Farming & Cropping and Ecological Plant Protection) at the University of Kassel is to develop management tools to support growers and extension services in applying control strategies against Phytophthora infestans in organic potatoes. A decision support systems (DSS) for organic potato production systems will be developed based on a crop growth model. This will be developed based on existing knowledge and further field trials. We intend to identify tools to estimate canopy mass and nutrient status of potatoes directly in the field. They will be evaluated and validated with respect to quality of results, time needs and user-friendliness. A guideline will be developed as easy decision support of growers on necessity of spray treatments. The canopy growth model will be validated in different field trials and implemented in the DSS ÖKO-SIMPHYT. The DSS will be adapted to the specific requirement of the alternative compounds to be used in the strategies. The validation of the amended model will take place on 3 sites in Europe, under oceanic (FR) and continental (DE, PL) pedo-climatic conditions in field trials including different varieties, nutrient status of the potatoes and spraying strategies


01. January 2012 - 31. December 2015

Participants at FOEL

Sponsored by

European Commission, Project Call Identifier: FP7-KBBE-2011-5, Project Number: 289497


  • Julius Kühn-Institut (JKI), Bundesforschungsinstitut für Kulturpflanzen, Germany (Coordinator)

  • Forschungsinstitut für Biologischen Landbau(FiBL), Switzerland

  • Fondazione Edmund Mach (FEM), Italy

  • Wageningen UR - Plant Research International (DLO), The Netherlands

  • Benaki Phytopathological Institute (BPI), Greece

  • Institut National de la Recherche Agronomique (INRA), France

  • Instytut Ochrony Roslin-Panstwowy Instytut Badawczy (IPP), Poland

  • Institut Technique de l'Agriculture Biologique (ITAB), France

  • Centro di Sperimentazione Agraria e Forestale, Laimburg Azienda (LAI), Italy

  • Louis Bolk Instituut (LBI), The Netherlands

  • Progressive Farming Trust Ltd T/A The Organic Research Centre (ORC), United Kingdom

  • Ceradis BV (CER), The Netherlands

  • FytoFend SA (FYTO), Belgium

  • Nor-Natur ApS (NOR), Denmark

  • Seaweed Canarias SL (SWC), Spain

  • Trifolio-M GmbH (TRIF), Germany

  • E-Nema GmbH (ENE), Germany