Van Biesen roses: taking biology to the next level

Rose grower Filip Van Biesen in Opwijk, Belgium knows how to combine respect for tradition with an innovative spirit. He is the launching customer for Dyna- Mite® G-System in Belgium. Filip is happy to share his experience together with Sam Gui, his Biobest advisor. “We have a 3.500 m2 greenhouse and made a deliberate choice to keep the scale of our operations small. We produce year-round and sell the bulk of our production to the Euroveiling in Brussels. We also sell directly to consumers on our farm. This allows us to manage our dependency on labor cost and allows us to respond in a flexible way to market conditions, while maintaining profitability.

Pioneering biological control

Sam Gui: ”Filip is a real pioneer when it comes to biological control in roses. In 2004, he was the very first rose grower in Belgium to use biological control. Today he is again playing a pioneering role by choosing Dyna- Mite® G-System (Euseius gallicus) and NutrimiteTM for the control of thrips and whitefly.”

Filip Van Biesen: ”Health is really a priority for me. Me, my wife and the members of my team, we all spend a solid portion of our day in the greenhouse and want to keep our exposure to dangerous pesticides as low as possible. Moreover, it becomes more and more difficult to solve all pest problems with chemical means. Often, biology is simply the best option. For example, spider mite problems used to keep me awake at times. Since I started using Phytoseiulus-System, I consistently achieve very effective control.

Dyna-Mite® + NutrimiteTM

“For the control of thrips and whitefly, I used to rely on Swirskii-System and Cucumeris-System. With Dyna-Mite®, we’re taking a totally new approach. We introduce a population in the crop at the beginning of the season. From that point onwards, the idea is to simply breed them where we need them. We provide NutrimiteTM to feed the population every two weeks, making sure that the predatory mite army is at full battle strength by the time thrips or whitefly appear on the crop.”

Sam Gui: “Our new predatory mite Dyna-Mite® responds extremely well to NutrimiteTM. They reproduce quickly, are very mobile and hence spread rapidly through the crop even when the prey density is very low. It’s a ‘standing army’ strategy, getting the predators in place before the pest arrives and making thrips or whitefly explosions a whole lot less likely.’

A tailor-made strategy

Van Biesen: ”I’m really looking forward to see the outcome of the Dyna-Mite® strategy over a full season. The first results are really encouraging and, together with the Biobest specialists, we watch the evolution very closely. Also when there is a need for a chemical correction, this will be done in consultation. For example, I might opt for a very localized application with a back-sprayer or choose a ‘soft’ application on top of the crop to limit the upward movement of thrips. Such a strategy allows to limit side-effects and prevent damage to the beneficial population lower in the crop.”

Sam Gui: ”Every grower needs a specific strategy. As an advisor, I first need to understand the company, its mode of production and its historical pest profile. This then allows me to propose a tailor-made strategy. Teaching growers how to deal with new products and new threats is a very rewarding task, especially with products like Dyna-Mite® and NutrimiteTM that are opening up a whole new array of options for integrated pest management.

I’m grateful that Filip gave me the opportunity to jointly implement the Dyna-Mite® strategy. We have been able to show in a fully commercial setting that a steadily growing population of Dyna-Mite® can be established and that it prevents explosions of thrips. We’ve also observed an additional and unanticipated benefit of Dyna-Mite®: it contributed significantly to the effective control of spider mite.”

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

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