The start of a new growing year generally comes with new challenges, says Ian Todd, technical area sales manager for Scotland. Growers of bedding and hardy nursery stock are having to respond to trends to produce crops earlier in the growing season more efficiently. This is making it ever more important to maximize the crop and reduce crop losses; however, the availability of fewer chemical plant protection products is compounding the issue.
One company at the forefront of developments in biofungicides, as well as biofertilizers, is Lallemand Plant Care. Extensive trials of products such as Prestop in ornamental crops have produced impressive results.
Five reasons to use biofungicides
- Multiple modes of action. Biofungicides, such as Prestop, have multiple modes of action against a range of diseases – such as root and base rots caused by Pythium, Rhizoctonia, Phytophthora, Fusarium, Thielaviopsis, Sclerotinia and Verticillium as well as aerial diseases caused by Botrytis and Didymella (Mycosphaerella).
- Highly effective. Quality registered biofungicides contain high colony forming units (CFU). For example Prestop contains a very high concentration of the mycelia and spores of a highly aggressive, naturally occurring soil fungus Gliocladium catenulatum Strain J1446 - isolated for its ability to control several important, and potentially costly, plant fungal diseases.
- Biological and safe. Biofungicides are non-chemical by nature and produced from natural occurring micro-organisms, so they are safe to humans, the environment and beneficial organisms when used as directed.
- Zero harvest interval. Biofungicides with no restrictions on re-entry after spraying, a zero harvest interval and no withholding period can be applied right up to when the plant leaves the nursery.
- Compatible with some chemicals. Biofungicides can offer compatibility with some chemical fungicides so can be applied together to give broader protection while simplifying spray programmes. It is important to check compatibility with the product manufacturer first. Products such as Prestop are safe to apply at the same time as nutrients, minerals and organic fertilizers.
Another good reason to use biofungicides is from a sales point of view when supplying retailers with high environmental standards.
Using these products to good effect
It makes sense to be proactive in high value crops and a good starting point is to have Prestop premixed into your Levington Advance Solutions growing media. For bedding crops this one application may be sufficient to provide protection for short-term crops. Longer-term crops are also likely to require additional drench applications – it is important to ensure at least 10% of the pot or container is drenched. Our team of technical area sales managers is on hand to help you with specific crop and growing situations.
In 2015 ICL took over the distribution of several products from the Lallemand Plant Care horticultural range, including Prestop, in the UK and Ireland.
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