Magdeburg (dpa/sa) - The first farmers have started to combat pests because of the relatively high temperatures. "We usually only sprayed towards the end of February, when it was over ten degrees for the first few days," said Sabine Hornemann, who runs an orchard in Sülzetal (Börde district). Last year, at the end of January, this year even at the turn of the year, she used copper for the first time to combat fungal pathogens that could trigger the so-called curling disease in her peach trees.
In order for nature to come to rest, it must be below five degrees for at least 30 to 60 days, Hornemann explained. "The warmer it is in winter, the more active nature is." Some varieties didn't take it well: "It's like a lot of sleepless nights for the trees - so effort and stress." It was striking this year, for example, that there were still many leaves hanging on the trees.
A spokesman for the state farmers' association in Saxony-Anhalt explained that it is important to recognize and act in good time, especially in the case of fungal infestation, as soon as the specified treatment values have been reached in order to prevent it from spreading to the entire stock. However, initial use to protect plants could also have other reasons. Farmers could use new sprayers or nozzles with water in the field to try them out. Field tests are also conceivable.
It's unclear whether the mild weather and early spraying will have an impact on the crop, Hornemann said. "It's a new experience for us," she added. The flowers of the trees are already formed, now it has to be shown how resilient the trees are. "The spring frost could lead to crop failures." The farmer explained when the next spraying will now also depend on the precipitation.