Nutrimite™ saves flower grower costly man-hours

ETS Ottenwaelder is a flower growing company based between Fréjus and Antibes (in the South of France). The company’s key crops include Hibiscus, Poinsettia, Cyclamen and Impatiens. In 2014 crop manager Jean-Marie Ottenwaelder used Nutrimite™ for the first time as part of the company’s IPM strategy. After several years experience with the use of predatory mites against thrips, Jean-Marie was really amazed about the difference with Nutrimite, in particular in Poinsettia. Better control with fewer releases of A. swirskii allowed for a three-fold reduction of manual labour – a significant cost saving for his company.”
Jean-Marie Ottenwaelder started using Nutrimite™ at the beginning of the 2014 growing season. Thomas Boudeaux, technical advisor of Biobest France assisted Jean-Marie with the introduction of Nutrimite™. Initial tests in Hibiscus and Poinsettia showed that assessing mite populations on Poinsettia was much easier than on Hibiscus. Hence the focus was put on Poinsettia with the goal to show that Nutrimite™ would help to constantly keep A. swirskii populations at fighting strength.

Jean-Marie was excited to see the predatory mites thriving on leaves, stems and flowers, even in the absence of thrips or whitefly. Adults, larval stages and eggs, they all were abundantly present on the crop. This clearly demonstrated the successful establishment of the mites on the crop.

“Thanks to the use of Nutrimite™, A. swirskii had to be released less frequently. We released three times, with time intervals of two weeks”, says Jean-Marie. “Every two weeks we applied Nutrimite™ by spraying it on the crop. In comparison to the 2013 growing season, when we did weekly releases of A. swirskii, manual labour was reduced by a factor of three. And never before did we get such a successful establishment of predatory mites.”
Jean-Marie is convinced of the added value of Nutrimite™. He is planning to work on extending the use of Nutrimite™ to other crops. While Hibiscus remains more of a challenge, he sees good opportunities in Cyclamen. “Pest problems in this crop are usually relatively limited. I am confident that an IPM strategy with Nutrimite™ can help us avoid using chemicals in this crop. I’m always aiming to find the good alternatives for the use of chemical pesticides.”

ETS Ottenwaelder was founded by Jean-Marie’s grandfather in the 1920s. Production of cut flowers started in the 1930’s, first in Saint-Laurent-en-Var, later in Antibes. After WWII, Jean-Marie’s father shifted to tropical flowers. In 1982, Jean-Marie and his brother Thierry took over the farm. A new 1,1 ha greenhouse was opened in Fréjus in 1990. In 1994 the company’s activities shifted again from green plants to flowering plant. Expansion continued with another in Fréjus and in Antibes. ETS Ottenwaelder today has 2.5 ha of greenhouses in Fréjus and Antibes.

For more information, please contact lise.verachtert@biobest.be.

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