Basically, preventive measures must be applied in organic agriculture to ensure plant health. The EU legislation for organic agriculture stipulates that pests, diseases and weeds have to be controlled through holistic application, e.g.
- appropriate choice of species and varieties
- appropriate crop rotation
- mechanical tillage
- protection of beneficial insects by creating favorable conditions (e.g. hedges, nesting places)
- release of natural opponents
- flaming of weed seedlings
Plant protection products may only be used if preventive measures will not be successful and there is an immediate threat to the crops. The legal basis for their application is the Regulation (EU) 2018/848, which has replaced the previously valid Regulation (EC) 834/2007 since January 1, 2022. In the supplementary Implementing Regulation (EU) 2021/1165, Annex I lists all potentially usable active substances.
The specific legal regulations applicable in Germany for plant protection and plant protection products must also be observed.
In Germany, plant protection products are approved by the Federal Office of Consumer Protection and Food Safety (BVL). The BVL runs a website with a wide range of information on plant protection products (www.bvl.bund.de).
Every distributor and user is obliged to check the approval status of the products themselves. The approval status of a plant protection product can be revoked by the BVL. The BVL provides information on revoked approvals and renewals on its website.
Approved plant protection products listed in the online search may only be used in legally permitted fields of application (indication regulation) due to German Plant Protection Act. The fields of application listed in the current Input list are based on information provided by distributor. They do not replace the application instructions in the product leaflet of the plant protection product or the approval reports of the responsible authority. Please contact the respective manufacturer or distributor in case of any questions or ambiguities.
At plant protection category, the online search is divided into fungicides (including other agents against plant diseases), insecticides and acaricides, molluscicides, basic substances, trapping systems and mating disruption, micro-organisms, beneficials and other products (e.g. additives). The classification into subcategories and their structure are exclusively for clear presentation and quick findability of the relevant products for use and have not been made due to aspects of phytosanitary law.
Basic substances are materials that are not primarily used for plant protection, but are nevertheless useful for plant protection. For example, substances that are defined as "food" due to Regulation (EC) No. 178/2002 may be approved as basic substances. Other substances that are harmless and are used in other fields can also be approved as basic substances. The BVL has compiled a summary of basic substances approved for use in organic agriculture. There, also further information such as the identity of the substances, possibly the production of ready-to-use solutions and the regulations on application can be found. Permitted basic substances currently include field horsetail, sucrose and calcium hydroxide. Basic substances are not plant protection products and may not be marketed as such.
Besides plant protection products, the Plant Protection Act also regulates additives. Additives are added, for example, to plant protection agents to improve wetting of the leaf surface. Adjuvants may only be placed on the market if they are included in the relevant BVL list. (only German)