New Strawberry Soil Fungicide For California

AgraQuest has announced that its broad-spectrum soil fungicide, Serenade Soil, is now approved for use in California strawberries. Serenade Soil is a unique soil fungicide combining control on important yield-robbing diseases with root colonization and plant growth effects, thus giving growers a new unique approach to both protect and enhance yields.

“With the removal of methyl bromide and the practical challenges of using other fumigant technologies, California strawberry growers face mounting difficulty controlling soil diseases,” said Ashish Malik, Senior VP of Marketing at AgraQuest. “Serenade Soil, with its strong disease control and yield benefits, will be an important part of a soil pest program.”

Applied at planting, Serenade Soil first attacks soil-dwelling pathogens, and then quickly builds a disease protection zone around the seedling’s roots. As the seedling grows, the beneficial bacteria in Serenade Soil continue to grow, attaching themselves to the roots of the plant, expanding the disease protection zone. Unlike traditional soil fungicides, this second powerful effect continues to protect the plant during the season, and results in higher-yielding fields and better quality fruits and vegetables.

Protecting the state’s more than $2 billion strawberry crop is a priority for California’s leaders, including the Department of Pesticide Regulation, who recently formed the Working Group to Identify Ways to Grow Strawberries without Fumigants. The work group is tasked with evaluating new technologies and developing recommendations for growers near the end of 2012.

The recently approved label will allow applications for control of verticillium. The company plans for the label for Serenade Soil to be expanded to include additional strawberry diseases in the future. In 2012 field trials, the product will continue to be evaluated for its effects on Phytophthora and Fusarium. Since the product is widely tank-mix compatible, expanded trials will also focus on integration of Serenade Soil with weed control and insect control products.

“The era of a single product controlling weed seeds, soil insects, and soil diseases has passed with the removal of methyl bromide,” said Malik. “Growers today are integrating a number of technologies to improve their control programs. Serenade Soil will be an important component of these programs.”

Available to U.S. growers of fruits and vegetables like tomatoes, potatoes, and melons since 2010, Serenade Soil has quickly gained a following among growers seeking improved yields and profits. Years of investigation have demonstrated that plants treated with Serenade Soil fungicide are stronger and healthier, and deliver average yield increases of better than 13% across a variety of crops, growing practices and production areas.

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