Nutrimite™ saves flower grower time and money

Ottenwaelder Frères is a flower growing company with production sites in Fréjus and Antibes, both in the South of France. Its key crops include pot plants like hibiscus, poinsettia, cyclamen, begonia and kalanchoe. The company has already many years of experience with the use of beneficials against whitefly and thrips. But only last year, crop manager Jean-Marie Ottenwaelder used Nutrimite™ for the first time as part of the company’s IPM strategy. Now, almost one year later, Jean-Marie tells he’s really amazed about the difference with NutrimiteTM – in particular in hibiscus and poinsettia. “It saves us time and money.”

Jean-Marie’s company has experience for many years with IPM in poinsettia and hibiscus, but only four years ago the strategy yielded really good results. Since then whitefly and thrips, the main pests in hibiscus and poinsettia, are controlled by a combination of two beneficials: the predatory mite Amblyseius swirskii and the parasitic wasp Eretmocerus eremicus.

Jean-Marie releases a new batch of swirskii and Eretmocerus every two weeks and even weekly, in case of heavy pest pressure. Also, particularly in the beginning of the season during the repotting of the plants, he uses the smaller predatory mite Hypoaspis miles, which is also keen on thrips.

These are the numbers Jean-Marie applied in his IPM strategy: 10,000 E. eremicus/1000m², 75,000 Amblyseius swirskii/1000m² and 100,000 Hypoaspis miles/1000m². With this strategy, the company is able to control whitefly and thrips most effectively. Problems with other pests, like spider mites and aphids, are rare in hibiscus and poinsettia. “But when these occur, we use a chemical treatment,” tells Jean-Marie.

So why change a winning strategy? Because everything can be better, and cheaper. Last year Jean-Marie started to use Nutrimite™, Biobest’s artificial pollen-based food supplement for predatory mites. Amandine De Souza, technical advisor at Biobest France, assisted him with the introduction. Jean-Marie: “We started with a dose of 50 gram/1000m², every two weeks. Soon we discovered that thanks to the food supplement, we could reduce the number of swirskii releases to only two or three per year! So instead of releasing swirskii every two weeks, we were blowing Nutrimite™ on our plants.”

Jean-Marie is still amazed about the difference, especially in workload. “Nutrimite™ helps us save money and time, since it takes many man-hours to release the mites properly. On the other side, applying Nutrimite™ is really easy: it takes only one hour per hectare when we use the appropriate Makita device.”

Although the strategy has thoroughly changed, the effectiveness is at least the same. “Thanks to Nutrimite™ the swirskii population in the plants becomes autonomous and doesn’t need to be replaced so often,” says Jean-Marie.

Ottenwaelder’s crop manager is really convinced of the added value of Nutrimite™. “I am confident that an IPM strategy with Nutrimite™ can help us avoid using chemicals in our other crops too.”

EARL Ottenwaelder Frères was founded by the grandfather of the Ottenwaelder brothers in the 1940s. The actual production site in Fréjus was constructed in 1990. EARL Ottenwaelder Frères today has 2.5 ha of greenhouses in Fréjus and Antibes.

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