Forging the way in residue free strawberries

04/05/2020 - Established in 1998, EARL de Campan is a member of the GIE les maraichers du Mirail producer group.

Strawberries are a key crop and the company devotes 1ha to spring variety Gariguette, as well as 1.2ha to two main crop varieties - Clery and Charlotte. An everbearer, Gariguette delivers a second flush of fruits end of spring harvest.

Biobest began collaborating with EARL de Campan around 15 years ago. Working with Biobest technical adviser Nathalie Philips, the company started out employing Biobest hives to boost crop pollination. Highly successful, it was not long before EARL de Campan took the next step embracing integrated pest management.

Botrytis has been a long-term challenge in strawberries grown under plastic, particularly with early varieties such as Gariguette,” explains Nathalie. “Growers traditionally used chemical fungicides. An innovator, the owner Thierry Cambe set out to reduce EARL de Campan’s reliance on chemical crop protection products and ultimately to phase out chemical inputs.

“First, he succeeded in relation to controlling powdery mildew and, thanks to Flying Doctors® / Prestop® 4B, Thierry also controls botrytis biologically.

“In the past his botrytis control programme involved three sprays of chemical pesticides. Convinced by the concept of Flying Doctors® and Prestop® 4B, in 2016 Thierry introduced the new system and, in the first year, reduced the three chemical treatments to just one.

“In the second year, Thierry had built up the confidence to drop the last remaining chemical spray and put 100% of his trust in the efficiency of Prestop® 4B. This trust was not misplaced as he observed a similar level of protection without any residues on the fruit... mission accomplished!”

Thierry now uses eight to ten Flying Doctors® hives per hectare on the Gariguette, replacing the Prestop® 4B every third days with a new dose of 8g.

In 2018, just two years after setting out to eliminate chemical sprays, the group of growers GIE les maraichers du Mirail took the decision to commercialize all their fruits guaranteeing the absence of synthetic pesticide residues. Through careful planning and collaboration with Biobest, Thierry was well prepared and able to comply with market requirements with ease.

During a year with high botrytis pressure, Thierry also applied two foliar Prestop® treatments (formulation adapted for foliar spraying) in parallel with the Flying Doctors®. As a precautionary principle, he applies this validated strategy every year.

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