BERN, SWITZERLAND – Swiss federal agriculture officials say that the cost of fighting the devastating Drosophila suzukii (spotted wing drosophila) pest could start at CHF3,000 per hectare, and rise, depending on the intensity of the grower’s efforts to deal with it.
One hectare can provide a wine producer with anywhere from 700 to 3,000 bottles of wine depending on several factors. The added cost could theoretically be CHF1-4 a bottle at the lower end if all of Agroscope’s advice is followed, although it is too early to calculate the variables and what methods growers will actually adopt.
Swiss vineyards in 2014 suffered losses when the beetle moved across much of the grape production areas; it arrived from the south in 2011 but was initially limited to parts of Ticino and areas next to France. A mild winter and damp spring appear to have encouraged its spread.
Agroscope, the federal research station, this week issued guidelines for Swiss growers to combat the insect, including frequent surveillance, greater use of small mesh nets, shorter harvests and ensuring that no fruit is left on the ground.
Suzukii also attacks fruits with pits and small fruits, so is a threat to orchards as well as vineyards.