Original Article Source: Natural Products Global
Quality and Yield Up as Swiss Organic Grower Trials Bee-Delivered Crop Protection System
Article By: Jim Manson
SWISS ORGANIC FRUIT PRODUCER RÄSS WILDBEEREN HAS SUCCESSFULLY TRIALLED THE BEE-DELIVERED CROP PROTECTION SYSTEM PIONEERED BY CANADIAN AG-TECH STARTUP BEE VECTORING TECHNOLOGY (BVT). IT’S THE FIRST TIME THE SYSTEM HAS BEEN USED IN EUROPE.
The system – which uses bumblebees to deliver organic inoculants – has enabled the organic berry farm to produce berries rated 90-95% ‘first class’, up from 70-80% previously. Increases in both yield and berry crop health were reported.
The system uses specially adapted hives so that bees walk through a specialist tray of powder before exiting their hive, passing on spores to each plant they visit. The naturally occurring fungus (clonostachys rosea) is absorbed by the plants, enabling them to block destructive diseases. This approach has earned landmark US EPA approval as the first bee delivered crop protection product. It is completely natural, uses no water and is harmless to bees, animals and humans.
BVT’s organic fungicide destroys fungi that blight crop yields – such as the infamous ‘grey mould.’ Additionally, crop trials have repeatedly demonstrated greater yields, including: three year strawberry increases of 18%; and also increased shelf life.
By avoiding the need for tractors, oil, and conventional pesticides, BVT says its innovation “promises a sustainable means to tackle growing food insecurity” – an issue prioritised by the EU Science Hub. BVT has recently been granted a patent from the European Patent Office, and is setting sights on European producer countries, such as Spain, Italy, Germany, Hungary, Poland, France, and Greece. BVT’s technology is a direct antidote to widespread European safety concerns regarding pesticides in food, which is reported as a major anxiety (39%) across the continent.
Main image: Aronia berry production at Räss Wildbeeren