Professor, Department of Plant Pathology
Professor, Department of Horticultural and Crop Sciences
Professor, Department of Plant Pathology, The Ohio State University, The Ohio Agricultural Research and Development Center, Wooster 44691
An inorganic (sulfur) and a conventional organic fungicide spray program were evaluated on an apple scab-resistant (Liberty) and a scab-susceptible (McIntosh) cultivar for control of scab and for cost effectiveness. Trees of both cultivars were either nontreated, treated with inorganic fungicides only, or treated with a conventional fungicide program. McIntosh trees received full-season fungicide applications and Liberty trees received only the summer cover sprays (after petal fall) for control of summer diseases. In 1991, the number of fungicide applications ranged from 0 for nontreated Liberty to 12 for the full-schedule inorganic program on McIntosh, with both treatments providing excellent scab control. All nontreated McIntosh fruit were unmarketable due to scab infection. Due to a dry growing season and lack of summer disease development, nontreated Liberty fruit was of high quality. In 1992, the number of fungicide applications ranged from 0 for nontreated Liberty to 14 for the full-schedule inorganic treatment on McIntosh, with both treatments providing good to excellent disease control. Results were very similar in 1993. Scab incidence was low for all treatments except the nonsprayed McIntosh over all years. Over 3 years of testing, the conventional fungicide program resulted in an average of 9 and 5 applications per year for McIntosh and Liberty, respectively, compared to 12.6 and 7 applications, respectively, for the inorganic fungicide program. The large reduction in the number of sprays for both programs was due to the elimination of all pre-petal-fall applications on Liberty; post-petal-fall applications are needed to control summer diseases such as flyspeck and sooty blotch. An economic analysis for total cost of fungicide applications for each spray program and cultivar was conducted for hypothetical 4.0-, 8.1- and 16.2-ha farms. Regardless of farm size, the cost of fungicides per ha varied among treatments and cultivars. The inorganic and conventional spray program for McIntosh had similar total costs. On Liberty, the inorganic and conventional programs had 73 and 57% less total cost, respectively, than on McIntosh. Fungicides for the conventional program on Liberty were 1.45 times more costly per ha than fungicides in the inorganic program, but the inorganic program required more applications, resulting in a small difference in total treatment cost per ha.