Bee Vectoring Technology Successfully Demonstrated with Key US Strawberry Growers
- BVT system produced 30+% more fruit yield in strawberries per acre
- BVT treated plants achieved a higher vigor rating than those fungicide treated i.e. plants were healthier/stronger
- BVT system shown to be better or equally as effective in the management of Botrytis as commonly used and consistently sprayed fungicides
- BVT system demonstrates strong economic value and reduced environmental footprint than traditional crop spraying
Mississauga, ON – March 16, 2016 – Bee Vectoring Technologies International Inc. (the “Company” or “BVT”) (TSXV: BEE) is pleased to provide a summary of independently verified results from six commercial demonstrations of its crop inoculation system carried out for leading US-based strawberry growers. Notably, trials were carried out in both indoor and open field settings.
Commencing in December 2015, BVT, in conjunction with one of the largest global bee producers, started demonstrations of its crop inoculation system with leading strawberry growers in six US locations – two in North Carolina, two in South Carolina and two in Florida – in an effort to prove its viability, effectiveness and economic value to growers.
The Carolina demonstrations were all carried out within indoor hoop house growing environments, a growing segment of fruit production implemented to capitalize on lucrative demand for fruit during winter months. During peak winter season growers can realize USD$3 a pound at the peak and around USD$1 at low season.
The Florida demonstrations were carried out in an open field environment. This method of growing strawberries accounts for the bulk of acreage in the USA, estimated to be around 60,000 acres. These demonstrations were conducted in segregated plots using current fungicide programs and non-fungicide – BVT only – plots. All plots were planted with identical plant species and experienced identical weather conditions. Comparisons were therefore made against current processes under verifiable conditions.
Yield and Plant Quality
The use of BVT products resulted in improvements to plant quality resulting in fewer diseases like Botrytis and anthracnose. BVT was found to typically save 15 fungicide sprayings in each site. Each spray has an approximate cost of USD$40/acre. Plots treated with the BVT system were found to have a 30+% higher fruit yield than those treated with fungicide. These findings were gathered by third-party personnel and were independently verified by plant pathologist, John Sutton, PhD whose full report on the BVT demonstration site results can be viewed here.
“Strawberries are in the initial five targeted crops BVT is concentrating on. Although the results from these trials were remarkable, they were not unexpected as we have seen similar results in prior sites. The BVT mode of action has evolved over millions of years and its by-products are healthier stronger plants, larger, better quality fruit and an absence of major diseases which translates typically into longer shelf life. We are hopeful that growers and consumers will benefit from an environmentally friendly and sustainable system that will assist in producing food to consumer demands” said Michael Collinson CEO.”
Each strawberry acre has approximately 17,000 plants that can commonly produce approximately 35,000lbs of fruit. With prices reaching USD$3 per pound during peak periods, each acre has a market value of up to USD$60,000. A 30% increase in yield through utilization of the BVT system would therefore have the potential to increase revenue by up to USD$18,000/acre. The current cost of fungicide treatment ranges from USD$600-1200 per acre. The BVT system is comparable in price but carries with it, compelling ancillary benefits of, among others, higher yields and organic processes.
Although trial data pertaining to the shelf life of fruit grown using BVT is still being collated, typically, in the absence of disease, this is expected to increase. This has been observed in previous trials.
Scott Weathington from Agri Tech who was conducting the trials noted, “The BVT system shows promise in berries and other crops. We see increases in yield and quality. We plan to continue to explore the BVT system with trials at our own facility beginning April 1. The preliminary results are encouraging and the entire process seems to have strong future potential.”
Growers are compelled to use fungicides and chemical sprays on a regular basis in order to combat common diseases, such as Botrytis, associated with commercial strawberry production. Botrytis is the most common and costly disease in strawberries and can reduce crop value substantially and, in some cases, destroy the entire crop. This pathogenic fungi is hard to detect in the early stages and, whether Botrytis is visible or not, growers must spray fungicides consistently throughout the growing period to insure a healthy crop.
However, repeated and excessive use of chemical fungicides has two major issues. Each chemical application stalls the plant’s growth reducing its size and that of its fruit. Secondly, over time, the pathogen being treated will build resistance to the chemical fungicide ultimately rendering the chemical ineffectual. In comparison, the BVT system assists and stimulates the plant in blocking disease and does not stunt growth. This results in larger, healthier plants which, in turn, produce healthier and larger strawberries. In addition, although not the key positioning of the company, the BVT system is entirely organic which in turn, typically attracts higher prices. According to a recently published TechSci Research report, “Global Organic Food Market Forecast & Opportunities, 2020”, global organic food market is projected to register a CAGR of over 16% during 2015 – 2020.
The BVT system demonstrations in North and South Carolina will continue well into May 2016 and further results will be announced as they become available. The strawberry trials will cease in Florida due to temperatures not being conducive to strawberry production. Additional replicated strawberry trials are commencing immediately at the University of North Carolina under the direction of Frank Louws, PhD, a Professor of plant pathology at North Carolina State University. For his comments with respect to the efficacy of certain fungicides in the Carolinas.
The success of these demonstrations have also lead to ‘open hoop environment’ strawberry trials being requested and commencing in Mexico. These trials are expected to run from April 2016 to the end of the Mexican growing season in June 2016. The trial will recommence in September and continue through to June 2017. Mexico is fast becoming a major producer of berries including, strawberries, raspberries and blackberries. Growing is especially prevalent in the higher altitude regions where growing seasons extend beyond those of California and span the lucrative winter months. Mexico has approximately 25,000 acres of land devoted to berry production. In partnership with Europe’s largest bee rearing company, BVT will also commence strawberry trials and demonstrations on sites in Spain, Holland and Germany during Spring 2016. Europe is anticipated to become a significant market for BVT products as demand is increasing in many European countries for organic and pesticide-free produce.
BVT has developed and owns patented and patent-pending bee vectoring technology (consisting of a proprietary tray dispenser containing a unique carrier agent) that is designed to harmlessly utilize commercially reared bumblebees as natural delivery mechanisms for a variety of powdered mixtures comprised of organic compounds that inhibit or eliminate common crop diseases, while at the same time stimulating and enhancing the same crops. This unique and proprietary process facilitates a targeted delivery of crop controls using the simple process of bee pollination to replace traditional crop spraying, resulting in better yield, organic product and less impact on the environment without the use of water or disruptions to labour.
On Behalf of the Board of Directors of Bee Vectoring Technologies International Inc.,
President & CEO
For further information, please contact:
Michael Collinson, President & CEO
For media enquiries or interviews, please contact:
Josh Stanbury | email@example.com | T. 416-628-7441
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This press release contains certain “forward-looking statements” that involve known and unknown risks and uncertainties. All statements in this press release, other than statements of historical fact, that address events or developments that BVT expects to occur, are forward-looking statements. Forward-looking statements in this press release include, but are not limited to, statements with respect to: trials being conducted in Mexico, Spain, Holland and Germany, expectations with respect to trial results on the shelf life of fruit grown using the BVT system, growth in the market for organic and pesticide-free produce in Europe, BVT’S future plans and technologies, including the timing of such plans and technologies. Forward-looking statements are statements that are not historical facts and are generally, but not always, identified by the words “expects”, “plans”, “anticipates”, “believes”, “intends”, “estimates”, “projects”, “potential”, “indicate” and similar expressions, or that events or conditions “will”, “would”, “may”, “could” or “should” occur. Although BVT believes that the expectations expressed in such forward-looking statements are based on reasonable assumptions, such statements are not guarantees of future performance and actual results may differ materially from those in forward-looking statements. Factors that could cause the actual results to differ materially from those in forward-looking statements include continued availability of capital, financing and required resources (such as human resources, equipment and/or other capital resources), and general economic, market or business conditions. Investors are cautioned that any such statements are not guarantees of future performance and actual results or developments may differ materially from those projected in the forward-looking statements. Forward-looking statements are based on the beliefs, estimates and opinions of BVT’S management on the date the statements are made. BVT undertakes no obligation to update these forward-looking statements in the event that management’s beliefs, estimates or opinions, or other factors, should change, except as required by law.