Offering fast and even distribution of beneficials in a wide range of glasshouse crops, Entomatic™ is a new adaptable automatic dispenser to help growers reduce labour costs and optimise control.
Available worldwide exclusively from Biobest, Entomatic™ is the result of a collaboration with Hortiworld, the Dutch-based producer of state-of-the-art Bio Bull horticultural equipment.
“Entomatic™ has been designed and engineered to deliver a very even, accurate and homogenous flow of mite products, such as Phytoseiulus-System, Amblyseius-System and Swirskii-System,” explains Hanne Steel, Biobest product portfolio manager for beneficials. “It can also play a valuable role dispensing suitable pupae and egg-based biocontrol products.
“Manually dispensing beneficials can be labour intensive and therefore time consuming and costly,” she says “A repetitive task, it requires high levels of focus, and it can be difficult to assess if the task has been performed well. To optimise biocontrol strategies and its effectiveness, it is important to get even distribution of beneficials throughout the crop.”
Having been approached by a north American strawberry grower keen to automate this process, HortiWorld set about designing and engineering a reliable solution. In 2020, at the prototype stage, the company approached Biobest and the two have collaborated to fine-tune and validate the Entomatic™ and bring it to market.
“Compared to other dispensers, Entomatic™ continuously and gently blows the mites on to the crop,” explains HortiWorld’s Rembrandt van Meegen. “By slowing down the air flow, more mites land on the leaves - where they are required – with minimal falling to the floor. The reservoir enables different products to be carried. When pre-mixed, an auger system provides continuous and homogenous supply to the dispensing points.
“A simple modular system, the machine is highly adaptable and can be configured to suit almost all glasshouse crops – soft fruit, protected salads and ornamentals - and any growing system,” he says. “We’ve designed it to be easy to configure and intuitive to use.
“Extensively trialled and tested, Entomatic™ can handle all common beneficial carrier materials – vermiculite, sawdust, bran and buck wheat husk. With no requirement for a pipe rail system, it can be mounted on a cart, tractor or spray equipment. All this adaptability brings benefits to us as manufacturers, Biobest as suppliers and growers as users,” he says.
“It can be challenging to schedule and co-ordinate sufficient crop workers to manually apply biocontrols coinciding with deliveries. With 2-16 dispensing points, the Entomatic™ can automatically dispense beneficials in up to 16 rows simultaneously. Depending on the number of dispensing points and row length, it has a dispensing capacity of up to 1,5 ha per hour.”
Summing up Hanne says: “while helping growers improve their labour efficiency, the Entomatic™ helps ensure the beneficials are dispensed evenly throughout the crop – a prerequisite of good biological control strategies.”