Products With Impact

Tuesday, April 25, 2017

Last week I was on the road with Agro Research International, our supplier of Thyme Guard and Nem Guard Gold. Thyme Guard is a non-EPA listed, organic fungicide, insecticide, bactericide and virucide. Nem Guard Gold helps build soil biology while greatly reducing nematode numbers. We met with a number of both organic and conventional growers in Central and Northern California. There was considerable interest in both products, especially because of the increased mildew pressure this season in California.

Prior to its introduction by Andaman Ag in California, Thyme Guard has been sold to mostly to conventional growers on the East Coast. Our thinking is that by introducing a new fungicide to the crop, the plant’s going to respond differently, which is good and, frankly, helps other fungicides achieve longer lives and greater impact. Organic growers are stuck with mostly sulfur dust, copper and stylet oils. They all work fine, although copper will eventually kill your soil. One of my mantras for organic farming is: the more bio-diversity that you can create, the better. This is just one simple example of that concept.

We also did some independent testing with Ryan Kennedy, Research Associate II, Entomology at Driscoll’s in Watsonville, and when used on Drosophila suzukii, Thyme Guard at .5% achieved nearly a 60% mortality after treatment. Thyme Guard is very good pesticide against small sucking insects (ie. thrips, mites, aphids, white fly, etc.) as it attacks their breathing apparatus.

In response to environmental and health concerns about the extended use of traditional pesticides, there is considerable interest in finding other control approaches for use in integrated pest management strategies for crop diseases. It seems inevitable that fewer pesticides will be used in the future and that greater reliance will be placed on improving overall plant health by concentrating on building soil biology so the plant can better defend itself. I foresee the application of alternative technologies in combination with traditional pesticides will be used to suppress both insect and pathogen pressures.

It takes time to understand how these products work and to commit to their use. For example, we’ve been working for some time with a wine grape grower who did a small trial late last season of Thyme Guard that showed positive results. After meeting with us this week and obtaining a greater understanding of the product’s unique chemistry and application history, he decided to use the product on his entire property.

An easy way for you to experience the benefits of Thyme Guard is to just rotate it in with your current fungicide regimen.