Gyeonggi-do Agricultural Research & Extension Services focuses on proactively preventing fire blight

Createdd 2022-04-24 Hit 28

Contents

○ On-site forecasting by central and local governments to prevent fire blight
○ Timely chemical application through forecasting for proactive prevention of fire blight
○ Management of burial sites as a public disease control measure against fire blight and preservation of farmer income through cultivation of alternative crops

The Gyeonggi-do Agricultural Research & Extension Services (GARES) announced on April 24 its comprehensive efforts to proactively prevent fire blight before the seasonal outbreak through joint precision forecasting, the installation and operation of a flowering season forecast system, the expedited provision of damage compensation, the follow-up management of burial sites, and more.

First, GARES will join forces with city and county governments to jointly inspect and monitor 29 apple and pear orchard sites four times annually in May, June, July, and October.

It has also installed 100 trial forecast systems in 10 major fruit-growing cities and counties of the province (e.g. Pyeongtaek City) so that farmers can undertake the timely application of pesticides in consideration of weather conditions when apple and pear blossoms bloom and fall.

GARES will also pay compensation to orchard farmers who suffer losses due to public disease control measures against fire blight. To prevent soil seepage where infected fruits are buried during monsoon season, it will also carry out intensive on-site inspections of ditch maintenance, soil coverage, and so on.

Based on the actual utilization of farmland by farmers who received compensation for fruit burial, GARES will publish research on alternative crops identified for each region that considers the cultivation of income crops, appropriate areas for cultivation within the province, logistics and sales, and more.

GARES Director Kim Seok-cheol commented, “It is critical to conduct precise inspections and treat fruit trees with chemicals in a timely manner to prevent fire blight, and it is equally important for farmers to pay close attention, observe, and report.” He added, “We will join forces with relevant institutions for prevention and carry out regular on-site inspections, expedite compensation payments, and research and develop alternative crops.”

Fire blight infests approximately 180 Rosaceae species, including apple and pear trees. Plants infected by this officially designated quarantine disease have leaves, flowers, branches, and fruits that turn black as if scorched or wither to brown. As it spreads quickly, public disease control measures, such as burial and incineration, must be carried out within 10 days.

In the last year, 99 hectares of 184 farms in 7 cities and counties of Gyeonggi Province were infested with fire blight, necessitating the burial of all apples and pears. No outbreaks have been reported in the province so far this year. Like livestock infestations, such as foot-and-mouth disease and avian influenza, there is no treatment for fire blight; closed orchids cannot cultivate host plants (those that are pathogen hosts) including apple and pear trees for three years. Due to potentially enormous economic losses, it is critical to regularly perform precise on-site inspections and undertake preventative chemical measures.