Since the launch of the Certis Innovation Center at the World Horti Center in Naaldwijk, Netherlands in April it has been possible for the company to conduct trials focusing specifically on the needs and questions of customers. Initial results are showing how valuable this work based on real crop trials can be in providing new pest control advice for advisors and growers.
One of the first trials has been in ornamentals, focusing on the use of the predatory mite, Tarsonemus montdorensis, which has increased substantially in the last year in a variety of ornamental crops for protection against thrips. Growers have seen successful results with the mites but were keen to know if the biorational products, BotaniGard, used to control whitefly and thrips, and Azatin, for the control of western flower thrips, whitefly and leaf miner, could also safely be used. A trial was set up in a chrysanthemum crop with a population of T. montdorensis and after the various applications of the biorationals, the populations of T. montdorensis were counted to check the effects of the products on the mites. The chemical reference (formetanate) killed almost all the predatory mites. The biorationals had no effect on the predatory mites, as shown in the graph.
A trial was also conducted in platycodon on thrips, using a chemical reference (formetanate) compared to biorationals Azatin 0.14% and BotaniGard vlb 0.125% used separately and Azatin 0.14% +BotaniGard WP 0.0625%. These were sprayed four times [at intervals of seven days]. The pressure was extremely high with, at the maximum, an average of more than 14 thrips per flower. The chemical product gave an excellent result but Azatin+Botanigard also showed good efficacy and hardly any visual damage.
Biorationals are also featuring increasingly in the control of fungal diseases, because of the demands made by supermarkets for less product residues in the produce. It is obviously extremely important for growers to know whether they can trust biorational products to protect their crops against devastating damage from fungal diseases such as powdery mildew. Karma (potassium bicarbonate) is registered for use against powdery mildew and is proving to be extremely effective. Trials in tomato and cucumber compared Karma and chemical products, used both preventatively and curatively. Four applications were made over a period of three weeks, (at intervals of seven days) and showed comparable results.
Certis Europe has also announced the establishment of a new Research Excellence Centre in Almeria, Spain where similar work will be conducted in protected vegetables. The work of these two new research facilities demonstrate the commitment of the company to further developments in providing Integrated Pest Management solutions to help growers to meet market demands.