One of the key objectives of the Cider Production Sector Plan was to triple the area under organic farming between 2017 and 2022. Today, the objective has already been exceeded: more than 30% of the cider orchard surfaces are dedicated to organic farming, a figure that is certainly among the highest of all French agriculture.
The management of a cider orchard in organic agriculture has its own specificities. Faced with the development of production and the questions asked by producers in the field, a study programme was set up in 2007 by the Normandy Chamber of Agriculture in partnership with the IFPC and the Normandy Organic Farmers Group. The IFPC then extended the work carried out on organic farming to other regions, with local partners. The themes worked on cover the entire technical management process: pest and disease management, row maintenance, rotation, fertilisation, etc. row maintenance, crop rotation, fertilisation, etc. A review of 15 years of experimentation will be presented.
The second part will focus specifically on weed management in cider orchards and a sharing of experience with the walnut sector. For over 20 years, the cider industry has been involved in research into innovative techniques for the management of weeds in cider orchards.
The presentation will assess the advantages and disadvantages of the techniques tested and that can be used by organic and conventional cider producers, for which the number of authorised herbicides is clearly decreasing.
The results of trials on weed management in walnut orchards suggest prospects for improving the quality of walnut orchard soils through, a greater value granted to the inter-rows thanks to the planting of crops having an agronomic interest.
The presentation of these results is accompanied by the testimony of a walnut grower who has been using plant cover under his walnut trees for nearly 10 years.
Fertilization in arboriculture still has many unknown aspects about the needs of the tree and the assimilation of fertilizers. There is also another factor of uncertainty in organic farming: the mineralization of organic products. What about practices and experimentation on this topic?
Finally, the management of insect pests remains a priority for arborists. A biological control solution against the codling moth is being studied in cider and table apple orchards. Introductions of a specific parasitoid are thus being carried out in orchards with the aim of a perennial establishment of the auxiliary and a sustainable control of the codling moth.