EU lowers the limit for copper spray in the vineyards to 4 kg

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The European Commission has now voted on the future of copper in European agriculture. On November 27, the decision was made to lower the limit to 4 kilograms of copper per year and per hectare counted as an average over a 7-year period (in other words, 28 kg in 7 years). This 4 kilos average of copper per year and per hectare compares to 6 kilograms at present (or more precisely 30 kilos over a period of 5 years). Lower dose but longer time period. The new rules will enter into force in February 2019.

Some seem satisfied with the decision and are pleased that copper has not been completely banned, while others believe that it is a bad decision that has been taken and that it will knock out maybe 20% of the organic winegrowers in France. Nevertheless many growers already use less copper, e.g. biodynamics who has a limit of 3 kg. How much is needed is very dependent on weather conditions.

Wine producers in several parts of France were hit hard in 2018 by mildiou, a fungal disease against which the organic growers use copper. Growers that are not organic can use other synthetic products. Read more: vitisphere

Read: Want to know more about organic wine? Read BKWine’s book Biodynamic, Organic and Natural Winemaking.

A distillation machine (still) in stainless steel and copper
A distillation machine (still) in stainless steel and copper, copyright BKWine Photography

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