The latest in the series of Natutec associated technologies for agriculture and horticulture – Natutec Drive – now offers growers a dispersal system that makes the release of beneficial insects even more accurate, evenly spread and labour-saving. While Koppert’s Natutec Scout and the airborne biocontrol release system, Natutec Drone, are steadily helping an increasing number of growers to professionalize the biological control of their crops, Natutec Drive will improve the dispersal of our predatory mites and other insects from a tractor or other suitable vehicle.
Natutec Drive is a tool with patented technology that makes it possible to apply all beneficials in various carrier materials from a moving vehicle via ventilated air tubes to the crop. The essential part of Natutec Drive is a ‘box’ with tubes that effectively distributes our predatory mites and other insects in the correct dosage and uniformly over multiple crop rows. Koppert has taken great care to ensure that the Natutec Drive module can be used as a customized vehicle or on existing farming equipment, no matter what crop system. The main function of the device is to achieve the most effective pest control by technically optimizing the success of our biocontrol products. It also results in significant labour and cost saving benefits for growers and is completely safe.
At present, Natutec Drive is being used mainly for the biocontrol of pests in strawberries in the Netherlands, the United Kingdom, Ireland and Germany. Trials on citrus have also started in Spain. Natutec Drive trials are now underway in a number of different crops and in a growing number of countries.
‘Growers want their employees picking strawberries in the field and not doing extra hours walking through the crop to apply biocontrol products manually,’ says Natutec Product Manager, Tom Vroegop. ‘Besides being very accurate and ensuring a uniform distribution of beneficials, Natutec Drive will also save growers a great deal of time and expense in the future. Tests have conclusively proved its effectiveness in the field and we have a growing number of testimonials from our customers. During the development of this technology, great care was taken to ensure that this is a healthy and safe way for applying our products.’
Natutec Drive is operational at leading soft fruit grower, Keelings, in Ireland. Their farm manager, Dennis Keny, recently shared his views on the innovative tool: ‘Natutec Drive is working like a dream so far. I think we got our first application accuracy for Thripex and Spidex up to 95%, and this will only get better.’ Brian Duggen, responsible for IPM at Keelings commented: ‘Great to have Natutec Drive up and running. We have achieved massive benefits with uniformity of applications and labour savings.’ In the Netherlands, consultant for leading strawberry growers, Jan Koevoets, has a customer with three Natutec Drives in use: ‘Thanks to Natutec Drive this farmer is now convinced that biocontrol is the way to go. It saves him a lot of time and my customer says if works fast and accurately.’