Irish growers are under even more pressure to produce crops within a short period at a competitive price. In recent years this has become even more challenging with the loss of certain chemical fungicides making it harder to keep plants healthy. Nurseries are also under pressure to maximise production whilst keeping labour costs down with an ever diminishing list of active substances available to them. Working with growers ICL is looking at biological alternatives which can either be incorporated into growing media or applied to plants as a foliar spray or drench to help provide protection from fungal diseases before they become a problem, ICL’s Colman Warde explains.
By the time fungal outbreaks have been identified it is all too often too late to treat, or the chemical product relied on in the past is no longer registered for use in Ireland. As a result growers are coming under pressure to look at alternatives to chemicals and are becoming more proactive in adapting their cultural practices to reduce the risk of outbreaks like Botrytis, Pythium, Rhizoctonia, Phytophthora and Fusarium.
Prestop is one such biofungicide which as part of our ICL solutions plan can help fight the threat of diseases throughout the growing cycle. Prestop contains the mycelia and spores of a highly aggressive naturally occurring soil fungus Gliocladium catenulatum Strain J1446. Able to survive in the rhizosphere, around the roots, and on foliage for several weeks, it attacks and suppresses a wide range of pathogens.
For convenience and accuracy, Prestop can now be premixed into growing media and can be reapplied later in season by drench via a dosatron (to provide protection against root diseases), or sprayed on to plants (protection from foliar diseases).
Prestop provides a number of very useful disease control benefits to a wide range of cropping situations, for example: -
- Approvedbiopesticide, safe for beneficials, compatible with many pesticides (check with ICL) and can be used in IPM systems.
- Prestop can be incorporated in to growing media or used as a foliar/drench application on the nursery site
- Does not cause plant scorch,like many chemical products
- No residues and for agricultural use on edible crops there is no harvest interval
A case study
Innovative nurseries, such as Clockhouse Nursery at Enfield in the UK, are currently incorporating Prestop in to their IPM programme to protect against such diseases. This 13-acre nursery annually produces over 1 million quality patio, bedding, perennial, shrubs and trees as well as fruit and vegetable plants on site - sold through its busy plant focused retail unit.
A high volume streamline operation, owner David Mills is constantly on the lookout for time and labour saving innovations. Delighted with the results achieved with Prestop, he says damping off has almost been eliminated from the nursery - with just a few isolated outbreaks linked to occasional issues with the irrigation system.
As part of our ongoing through product testing programme, Prestop is currently being trialed on a wide range of crops from bedding and heathers to cell grown trees and within our peat based, peat reduced and peat free growing media mixes.