Spanish company Aleia Roses is committed to growing the best red roses and produces the highest quality rose cultivar, Red Naomi©. To further improve their product, Aleia Roses implemented a new crop protection method in September 2016: beneficials.
Aleia Roses is owned by Spanish entrepreneur Luis Corella. He set up a modern 14-hectare company in Garray, north of Madrid, which makes considerable use of Dutch expertise and state-of-the-art technology. The company has more than 250 employees and offices in Madrid and the Royal FloraHolland Trade Fair in Aalsmeer.
Pablo Villalaín is IPM manager at Aleia Roses. According to him, the company enforces a strict hygiene policy and relies heavily on biological crop protection. It all starts with the preventive deployment of beneficials on their suppliers' young plants.
'We started using beneficials in our greenhouses over a year ago, on the day the young plants were delivered. We use three beneficials: Amblyseius swirskii (Swirski-Mite) for thrips, Phytoseiulus persimilis (Spidex) for spider mites, and Encarsia formosa (En-Strip) for whitefly.'
Respect for the environment
Respect for the environment is one of the operational pillars of Aleia Roses, which also uses Trianum alongside its beneficials. 'We want to produce the highest-quality roses with respect for people and the planet,' explains Pablo.
It took time to gain a solid understanding of biological crop protection. It's hard when pest outbreaks happen and the beneficials are unable to control it. 'If we have to use a chemical agent, it could disrupt the biological beneficials. So we wait until we can successfully reintroduce them.'
Pablo Villalaín is pleased with the success so far. While beneficials come with a bigger price tag and require more labour, the results are more than worth it. 'We use fewer chemicals and our crops are healthier. This improves the quality of our roses. We're convinced that our customers will appreciate roses that were produced in an environmentally-friendly way.'
Using fewer chemicals also means spontaneous help from beneficials outside like Feltiella acarisuga and different types of Aphidoletes and Praon. They further enhance the effect of the beneficials released.
Aleia Roses started using Ulti-Mite Swirski in November 2016. Last summer, the results were great. 'We only had to use chemical agents at the end of the season to combat an outbreak of Onion thrips (Thrips tabaci),' explains Pablo.
The company works in close collaboration with Koppert Spain, which provides technical advice and fresh beneficials when needed. 'That's an important part of biological crop protection. We have permanent contact with our consultant and discuss outbreaks and how to combat them. Julian Giner Alegria from Koppert Spain and Muriël Klein Beekman from Koppert in the Netherlands visit our company every month.'
Koppert Spain is a strategic partner of Aleia Roses. 'They supply us with high-quality products, advice, and solutions,' says Pablo. 'In this way, they are helping us meet our primary objective: producing the best and most beautiful roses in the world.'