Biobest helps North-American propagators to go green with tailor-made strategies

More and more vegetable growers realize that it’s crucial to buy plants from propagators that apply biocontrol. A grower is indeed off to a bad start in biocontrol when plants come in from the propagation with chemical residues and with pesticide resistant pest populations. This is double the trouble! Why not start with plants on which natural enemy populations have already started to establish? Biobest works closely with vegetable plant propagators to help them implement biocontrol from the very beginning. The key to success: personalized advice and Amblyseius cucumeris mini-sachets, a powerful and cost-effective product to provide each and every plant with its own little biocontrol army.

“It’s plain logic”, says Ronald Valentin, Biological Crop Protection Specialist for Biobest in North America, “Many growers have been confronted with problems in biocontrol programs due to incompatible practices at the propagation stage. Growers are rightfully expecting their plant propagator to coordinate the pest control strategy with their own.”
Methods for biological control in propagation have already been developed in the 1990’s. But they went out of fashion again when a new generation of pesticides (for example, abamactine and imidacloprid) came to market. Nowadays, with legislation becoming ever more stringent and resistant thrips rapidly spreading, biocontrol in propagation is back on the agenda. And it’s there to stay. Biobest works closely with growers to develop tailor-made biocontrol strategies for each propagator.

Ronald Valentin comments: “There is a need for fine-tuning and monitoring of the strategy with every propagator. However, the foundations are always similar. A cornerstone is to supply every single plant with a mini-sachet of Amblyseius cucumeris. That’s very cost effective and convenient, our sachets are designed to minimize labour. Broadcasting the product isn’t nearly as effective since a lot of the product just doesn’t end on the small plants, but on the concrete floor instead. Having a breeding sachet on the young plants guarantees a steady supply of predatory mite colonizing the young plants from a very early stage. When the growers receive their plants from the propagator, there is already an established population on the plants.”

Since the first wave of nursery biocontrol in the 1990’s, swirskii has come to market but we’ve shown that good old cucumeris remains the best and most economical option to be applied at the level of every individual plant. This works very well in both cucumber and pepper. Once the plants are well developed in the greenhouse, the choice of predatory mites to be released can be made in function of the pest pressure in the grower’s crop.”

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