Alternative or chemical-free plant protection techniques eliminate the potential risks associated with the use of chemical agents. In some fields of application, the use of chemical plant protection products is already generally banned. Alternatively, thermally or mechanically operating equipments are commonly accepted today. These are labor- and cost-intensive compared to chemical plant protection. The Institute tries to optimize these techniques and also seeks for alternative solutions.
Since chemical plant protection is highly effective in terms of labor, its use increased in the past. This applies especially to herbicide applications for weed control. Hence the number of herbicide resistant weeds did increase. Furthermore the National Action Plan on Sustainable Use of Plant Protection Products (NAP) demands to minimize the risk potential for users, consumers and the environment.
Balancing between benefit and risk of chemical plant protection led, for instance, to a general prohibition of its use in the field of application on pavements in some federal states in Germany. Some other sectors like organic farming generally dispense with the use of chemical plant protection. Hence alternative plant protection techniques and concepts are in great demand in many sectors.
However, alternative plant protection techniques so far achieve lower efficiency levels and cause higher labor costs. The Institute is working on optimizing these techniques.