R&D program


Strategy for the control of flavescence dorée: creating new knowledge for better control

Keywords: Flavescence dorée, alternative control measures, organic viticulture, spatio-temporal dynamics, economic impacts

The obligatory control strategy against flavescence dorée is being implemented throughout France and requires sustained use of insecticides. However, given the difficulty of its implementation, and the necessity to act as a collective, it has not succeeded in eradicating this disease which affects the vines’ longevity. The project evaluates several measures which could be incorporated into the control strategy’s decision-making and organisational model, taking into account:

  • the vectors’ shifts between different types of landscape and the effect of phytosanitary practices on their spread,
  • the economic impacts of the different public control strategies already being implemented and simulation of the economic impacts of new control strategies,
  • new control methods to reduce insecticide use and/or to alleviate difficulties in managing the vector under certain conditions (especially in organic viticulture).

This project works on different spatial and temporal scales in order to envision the most effective disease control possible.


The IFV is coordinating this programme in partnership with the INRA UMR BFP (Fruit Biology and Pathology), the UMR SAVE (Vineyard Health and Agroecology); the INRA UMR CESAER (Centre of Economics and Sociology Applied to Agriculture and Rural Areas), SudVinBio and the Tarn Chamber of Agriculture. Also involved in this programme are the INRA UMR Ecopub (Public Economics), the Plant Health Office, the Branch for Plant Quality, Health and Prospection (Department for Health Actions in Primary Production), the General Directorate for Food, and the Bordeaux GDONs.


  • Action 1: Analyses of the spatio-temporal dynamics of vector populations and outbreaks of flavescence dorée. Through experimental and modelling approaches, this action analyses the leafhopper population dynamics in the landscape over time. The effects of phytosanitary practices will be taken into account.
  • Action 2: Economic analysis of different strategies for controlling flavescence dorée and their outlook. Economists evaluate the cost (environmental and economic) of current public policies for controlling flavescence dorée and test alternative scenarios at a local scale.
  • Action 3: Study of alternative methods for controlling the leafhopper, vector of the flavescence dorée phytoplasma. Two routes are tested: inhibition of phytoplasma transmission by the vector insect by inactivating a specific gene in the vector insect, and egg-destruction methods, reducing the reliance on phytosanitary treatments.


The project is planned to run for 3 years, from January 2019 to December 2021.