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Biological crop protection products prove a valuable addition to vineyards

Biological control in grapes

Biological crop protection products prove a valuable addition to vineyards

Biological crop protection products offer a valuable addition to existing management strategies for potentially costly wine grape diseases like Botrytis cinerea.

Like any form of crop protection, getting an effective result from a biological product depends on how and when you use it, and how you integrate it
into your programme.

Alan Cliffe, Development Manager at Nufarm, says Botector is a topical example at this time of year.

He says, the BioGro approved protectant biofungicide for Botrytis aligns well with late season disease control, because it can be used right up to one day prior to harvest, when other options are limited.

“In these situations, Botector can help both conventional and organic growers respond proactively to a very specific risk scenario that otherwise might be challenging to manage,” Alan explains. 

“And because Botector acts as a competitor to Botrytis and does not directly affect the mechanism of the pathogen, there is very low risk of developing resistance. This means growers can be confident knowing they’re proactively managing that resistance risk as well.”

Alan says growers are becoming more familiar with the unique requirements of incorporating a living organism into their seasonal Botrytis protection as the New Zealand wine industry continues to move toward a nil residue approach.

“Biological products are different from conventional fungicides,” he says. “But they are easy to integrate into your programme once you understand how best to handle and apply them, and in the case of Botector, there are some distinct advantages in doing so.” 

A common question with Botector is about the compatibility of its active ingredient, Aureobasidium pullulans, Alan says.

Global manufacturer San Agro provides a comprehensive list¹ of other plant protection products, fertilisers and additives¹ that can be mixed with Botector,  and Nufarm Territory Managers are also able to provide a detailed compatibility guide for New Zealand wine growers.

Alan explains: “Botector has excellent compatibility¹²³ with a broad range of commonly used insecticides, fungicides and adjuvants, but because it contains a living biological organism which can be negatively influenced by some mixing partners, it’s important to confirm compatibility status before combining it with anything else. The active ingredients and/or surfactant systems of some products can reduce spore survival and colonisation rates.”

The Aureobasidium pullulans contained in Botector is a saprophytic, epiphytic and, in the case of Botrytis cinerea, antagonistic microorganism. It competes with the Botrytis pathogen for living space and nutrients due to its rapid proliferation rate.

It is this unique mode of action, ‘competitive exclusion’ – creating a physical barrier with no direct impact on any enzymatic pathway – that allows Botector to provide an alternative offer to delay or prevent the build-up of resistance to commonly used conventional fungicides in grapevines.

Alan says the results² of using Botector on its own when compared to conventional spray programmes, or in combination with a standard programme have been encouraging.
Trial work in New Zealand was conducted over three years in Hawke's Bay, Gisborne, Marlborough and Nelson.

The trial data showed five applications of Botector at key timings throughout crop development, from 10 percent flowering to pre-harvest, could perform as well as a conventional four spray programme and, in one trial³, it performed better in disease severity assessments than an alternative biofungicide programme.

Botector comes in a dust free, Water Dispersable Granule (WDG) formulation that is easy to measure and mix. 

For more details, please contact your local Fruitfed Supplies Technical Horticultural Representative. 

² 2016-18 Nufarm trials in Hawke's Bay, Gisborne, Marlborough and Nelson.
³ 2018 trial by Peak Research in Hawke's Bay, NUNZ1841.
ACVM registration number: Botector® #P009700. Read the registered label before use.