Wyevale Nurseries have been assisting with trials of a new test to detect the early signs of Botrytis to reduce the spread of the disease in nursery and garden centre plants.
Its work with researchers at Pershore College, biotechnology company Mologic and Hayloft Plants, based in Pershore, could save plant nurseries thousands of pounds and plants annually.
Carol Dickinson, the company's Head of Business Support, said: “Along with Hayloft Plants, we’re the first producers to benefit from the new antibody tests that detect the early signs of Botrytis. Botrytis is a disease which attacks plants all year round and is more commonly known as ‘grey mould’.”
Wyevale Nurseries have engaged with Pershore College as a research partner on the project.
Production Manager Kyle Ross, who is also Pershore College alumni, said it’s crucial that nurseries are able to stop the spread of Botrytis.
Kyle adds: “We’ve been testing a huge range of crops, with different densities, different colours and plants at different stages of their lifecycle.
“Over the course of a year, nurseries such as ourselves can lose a lot of plants to Botrytis, so you have to overproduce to compensate for those losses.
“The rapid diagnosis kit is easy to use and allows us to locate areas of infection, and stop the spread, which will reduce wastage and save costs too.
“We have strong links with Pershore College, and we’re pleased to be able to support the college and Mologic in researching the potential of these tests.”
Students who enroll on the Agri-Tech course at Pershore College will be given the opportunity to work with the tests, building them and trialling them on different types of crops to further expand their use in the horticulture industry.
Professor Roy Kennedy, who has led on the project for the college from the Agri-Tech Research Centre, said: “We have been working in partnership with Mologic to validate these tests at our research centre, and the next stage is to explore how the industry uses them in practice.
“Hayloft and Wyevale are both already seeing the numerable benefits of the tests and the positive impact utilising them will have on business going forward.”