Apple and pear producers face problems with no antibiotics

11/06/2013 02:40:00 PM
Melissa Shipman

The project doesn’t seek to establish new solutions, but rather to share information growers already have been using.

Shade said the project would provide a good supplement to research efforts currently underway at Oregon State University.

Jay Norelli, USDAAn infected block of trees are damaged from fire blight. Researchers are looking for alternative methods to the use of oxytetracycline in organic orchards, The Organic Center began a project to provide the organic community the information needed to prevent the disease.

R">“Those efforts may eventually provide specific treatments as material alternatives to antibiotics,” she said.

The center’s publication will provide growers with a more holistic approach, including techniques that will fit together with specific treatment substitutions when those become available, almost as a stepping stone.

“The research on those new treatments might not be published for several years, so something needed to be done in the meantime,” Shade said.

If these new treatments are not ready by the time the antibiotic is banned, organic apple supplies will be in a real danger.

“It will reduce the amount of industry acreage on some varieties and locations. It is a big deal and a true threat. We will weather the threat with time, but some recession will occur from this,” Pepperl said.

Shade is hopeful the Organic Center’s efforts will help growers feel more at ease.

“There hasn’t been a lot of press about how to control fire blight without antibiotics, so knowing people have done it and sharing the different methods will not only be comforting but will provide solid scaffolding concerned growers can build upon,” she said.

The final draft should be ready for growers after the first of the year to be helpful for the 2014 growing season, according to Shade.

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November, 25, 2013 at 04:17 PM

Double whammy for organic growers is that someday a genetic cure for fireblight may be found and they won't be able to use it.

Mark White    
Michigan  |  November, 25, 2013 at 06:11 PM

The article mentions antibiotics being phased out but doesn't say when. 1 + ? = ?

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