Orchard management practices, such as destroying of overwintered inoculum and limiting the number of fungicide applications, are often recommended as tactics for slowing the development of resistance to sterol demethylation-inhibitor (DMI) fungicides in populations of Venturia inaequalis. However, there is little quantitative evidence relating the use of such practices to levels of resistance in orchards. The aim of this study was to evaluate the sensitivity of V. inaequalis isolates from Pennsylvania to DMI fungicides, and to identify orchard management factors related to the incidence of resistant isolates. In total, 644 single-spore V. inaequalis cultures obtained from 20 apple orchards in 2008 or 2009 were tested for sensitivity to myclobutanil, fenbuconazole, or difenoconazole. Growers provided management history of the sampled plots. Widespread shifts toward resistance to the three fungicides were noted, with mean effective concentration for 50% inhibition (EC50) values of 2.136, 0.786, and 0.187 μg/ml for myclobutanil, fenbuconazole, and difenoconazole, respectively. Cross resistance to the three fungicides was documented in high correlation (Spearman's r > 0.6) between mean EC50 values for 14 orchards. Based on a 0.5-μg/ml threshold, 66 and 26% of isolates were resistant to myclobutanil and fenbuconazole, respectively, and 22% were cross resistant to the two fungicides. A significant between-year shift toward increased resistance was noted in two of three orchards surveyed in both years. Failure to use dormant copper sprays, older trees, larger orchards, orchards with ≤10 cultivars, and application of >4 DMI sprays were positively correlated (0.0001 < P < 0.05) with the incidence of resistant isolates. Isolates from orchards with >4 DMI sprays were four times as likely to be resistant to fenbuconazole (odds ratio = 4.57; P = 0.015). Isolates from orchards without dormant copper sprays were twice as likely to be cross-shifted toward resistance to all three fungicides (odds ratio = 1.76; P = 0.048). Results identify management practices that can reduce the risk of V. inaequalis developing resistance to DMI fungicides.
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