To help growers plan ahead and optimise plant health on nurseries year-round, ICL has developed a ground-breaking new Plant Health Planner.
“A digital web-based tool, it is designed to both simplify and optimise plant health programmes on UK nurseries,” explains ICL Technical Area Sales Manager, Sam Rivers. “In line with the Sustainable Use Directive, it will help growers reduce their reliance on chemical crop protection products.
“With an ever-diminishing range of available chemicals, growers are adopting a different mindset and a more sustainable IPM approach to keeping their crops healthy. This means cultural controls are growing in importance again as the first line of defense, followed by programmed biological approaches to boost plant health and control target pests and diseases. As a last resort, growers have a diminishing range of chemical products to fall back on.
“In this new era, to be successful it is key to have a planned approach – which is where the ICL Plant Health Planner comes in,” says Sam.
Having gathered information as to the plant health problem areas on a particular nursery, the timings, crops affected and products currently used – members of ICL’s BASIS qualified technical team will flag up any cultural improvements and produce an accompanying bespoke Plant Health Plan.
“Once set up, nursery production staff can access their Plan via a mobile, tablet or desktop computer,” explains Sam. “Easy to use, they simply click on the week number to view recommended actions. For example, this might be to apply a biostimulant to boost plant health ahead of high powdery mildew pressure on the nursery, or to apply nematodes to target vine weevil grubs at the correct time of year.“
The Planner features recommendations around ICL’s expanding range of biological products plus the broad-spectrum fungicide Amistar. Biological products include the Seeka nematode range for controlling vine weevil larvae, WFT and sciarid fly, the award-winning biorational Pitcher for controlling vine weevil eggs, the bio fungicide PreStop as well as ICL’s proven range of biostimulant products including Hicure and the Vitalnova range.
“Biostimulants are like multivitamins for humans,” explains Sam. “It is important to understand that they are not a replacement for a robust IPM programme or a precision nutrition programme, but a welcome addition to boost plants through periods of stress.”