The experience of Exmora, a large ornamental grower from Skhirat on the Moroccan westcoast, demonstrates that Biobest’s NutrimiteTM is a game changer also under North-African growing conditions. A solid powerboost to the predatory mite A. swirskii, that’s what Exmora needed to finally declare victory on whitefly and other pests. Julien Bennani, Exmora’s general manager explains how Biobest helped his company achieve better and more economic pest control than frequent pesticide sprays.
Exmora grows around 4 ha of ornamentals crops, mainly in greenhouses. Rose and Gerbera are the main crops. “Whiteflies used to be a major problem” says Julien “and we sprayed a lot of pesticides, alternating various types of products. However, at the end of the growing season, we always ended up with huge whitefly populations. Due to growing pesticide resistance, the problem was getting worse year after year. We also had problems with thrips and spider mites.”
Four years ago, Julien called upon Biobest to help setting up an Integrated Pest Management (IPM) strategy. Julien: “Together with Biobest’s technical advisor Saida Bennaji we initiated trials on roses. We initially tried different combinations of beneficials and noticed an improvement in the early season. Towards the end of the season, however, we still ran into problems. Last year, we tested a strategy based on a new Biobest product. We applied NutrimiteTM to feed the predatory mite Amblyseius swirskii and combined this further with sticky traps. The results of the trials were outstanding and today we treat all our roses this way.”
Saida Bennaji explains: “NutrimiteTM is 100% natural food supplement made from a special selection of pollen and is designed by to stimulate biological pest control. It helps us reach higher numbers of predatory mites throughout the whole season. With NutrimiteTM we get the swirskii army well established early on, even before pests like whitefly and thrips arrive. This prevents the pests from spreading. Also, we are able maintain a strong population until the very end of the season.”
“The advantages go well beyond fewer chemicals and better pest control” says Julien. “Fewer chemical sprays also means less labour and fewer days during which we have to restrict access of our employees to the greenhouse. It also means we gain in flexibility to easily integrate other beneficial organisms such as Delphastus in our biocontrol program. Overall, our roses look much healthier and we achieve higher production.”
Mouna Ennehly, responsible for the company’s IPM strategy: “I apply Nutrimite™ every two weeks using a simple manual pump. I use 300 grams per ha. After introducing swirksii sachets, I initially spray Nutrimite™ low in the crop, close to the sachets. Afterwards I also spray higher, to obtain a good distribution of the mites.”
A few weeks ago, Exmora initiated a trial with the combination of swirskii mites and Nutrimite™ on Gerbera flowers. Julien: “We hope we get the same results as in our roses, so that we can also treat our Gerbera crop in the same way.”
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