Introducing New AzaGuard Formulation from BioSafe Systems

EAST HARTFORD, CT – BioSafe Systems is excited to announce the release of a new and improved formulation of AzaGuard Insecticide/Nematicide. A common inert used in emulsified concentrates was recently put on the EPA watch list. To be proactive, BioSafe Systems underwent the process of reformulating AzaGuard and updating the label through the EPA to produce a more sustainable botanical insecticide which adheres to the company’s mission of providing highly effective but sustainable crop protection solutions. Additionally, over 30 new crops were added to the label including arugula, globe artichokes, pomegranates and cranberries to meet the increasing need for effective organic insect control solutions.

AzaGuard is a 3% Azadirachtin Botanical Insecticide utilizing the technical material that remains below 20% by weight to maintain high levels of other important limonoids. The inclusion of these important limonoids in AzaGuard enhances the efficacy of the active ingredient as an insect growth regulator, insect repellant and anti-feedant. In addition, AzaGuard is formulated in the U.S. under strict quality control conditions from technical material extracted from newly harvested neem seeds. These manufacturing efforts ensure that AzaGuard maintains the maximum potency until used by our customers.

For more information or a copy of the updated AzaGuard label, contact BioSafe Systems toll-free at 888-273-3088 or visit biosafesystems.com.

Our Team Grows By Two New Members

EAST HARTFORD, CT – BioSafe Systems announces the strategic hires of Kyle Pickles as the Technical Sales Representative for the California Central Coast and Steven Tillman as the Midwest Technical Sales Rep. Both will work in the Agriculture market segment.

Kyle Pickles is based on the Central California Coast as a Technical Sales Representative. He is a graduate of California Polytechnic State University, San Luis Obispo, with a BS degree in Agriculture Systems Management and a minor in Plant Protection and Crop Science. Kyle started his career in the water treatment services division of the Deerpoint Group but quickly decided his passion was working directly it growers and transitioned into a position with Helena Chemical Company. Kyle is eager to provide a high level of technical support and service to the Central Coast territory covering Oxnard/Ventura up to the Salinas Valley.

Steven Tillman lives in northern Indiana and will cover the Midwest where he has extensive regional agricultural knowledge. Steven graduated from Purdue University with a Bachelor’s degree in Agricultural Business Management and a minor in Agronomy. He then began working on retain agriculture for Ag Plus Inc. where he provided growers with customized fertilizer recommendations. Next, he transitioned to a Territory Sales Manager role at Compass Minerals International Inc. where he managed an 8-state trade territory, calling on retail agriculture establishments. Before coming to BioSafe, Steven was an Account Relationship Manager for North Central Co-Op. We are excited to have him bring his extensive expertise to our team.

BioSafe is excited to welcome these new members and is pleased to have them as part of our family. For more information, contact BioSafe Systems toll-free at 888-273-3088 or visit biosafesystems.com.

Growing Our Midwest Technical Team

EAST HARTFORD, CT – BioSafe Systems is excited to announce the strategic hire of Steven Tillman as a Technical Sales Representative for Midwestern United States.  With extensive experience and regional agricultural knowledge, Steven will be a great asset to the team.

Steven graduated from Purdue University with a Bachelor’s Degree in Agricultural Business Management and a minor in Agronomy. He then began working in retail agriculture for Ag Plus. Inc. as an Agronomy Sales and Technology Specialist where he provided growers with customized fertilizer recommendations based on their personalized needs. Steven then became a Territory Sales Manager for Compass Minerals Internationals Inc., where he managed an 8-state trade territory, calling on retail agriculture establishments. Before coming to BioSafe, Steven was an Account Relationship Manager for North Central Co-Op.

Steven is based in northern Indiana with his wife, Liz, near the “home farm” where he grew up farming grain and beef cattle. He is excited to come into BioSafe, a family-owned company, with a great understanding of how a family-run business operates. When he’s not working, Steven spends his time on the basketball court volunteering as a basketball coach for high school athletes. He also finds a little time on the tractor to be therapeutic. BioSafe Systems welcomes Steven and is pleased to have him as part of our family.

For more information, contact BioSafe Systems toll-free at 888-273-3088 or visit biosafesystems.com.

Lifecycle Management of Fall Production Pests Using Biological Pesticides

By Manuel Campos, Ph.D., Entomologist, BioSafe Systems 

Seasons come and seasons go, but it always seems like the pests are here to stay. Developing a successful and sustainable year-round IPM program should be paramount for any grower whether it be in the greenhouse or in the nursery fields. Keeping in mind the entire lifecycle of the trouble insects can be more difficult in practice than it is in concept. Many growers deal with their pest problems in the now, however taking a preventative approach during the early stages of an insect’s growth will prove to be even more effective over time. Using biological products is one way to ensure greater control of pests while maintaining a sustainable and non-resistant program.

Fall production of ornamental crops such as pansies and poinsettias can be a breeding ground for whiteflies, fungus gnats, and thrips. Importing plugs from external sources presents its own risks as well when growers end up importing more than they bargained for. Bringing in large amounts of product along with large amounts of pests can have a detrimental effect on production and profits if left unchecked. Using biological pesticides that affect the different stages of an insect’s lifecycle are extremely effective, non-residual, and are soft on the plants themselves during any stage of production. Biological products can still be used with broad spectrum bactericides/fungicides but it’s all about the timing. Chemistries such as ZeroTol 2.0 can be applied throughout the growing on and finishing stages to prevent or treat common foliar diseases such as Botrytis or powdery mildew and since it simply breaks down into air and water a biological product can be used as soon as the chemical dries.

BioSafe Systems, a leader in sustainable chemistries, has developed a proprietary OMRI listed strain of Beauveria bassiana fungus used in their BioCeres WP® product, which is approved for organic production and is perfectly suited for IPM programs, in a tank mix with other pesticides or surfactants as well as specific, stand-alone use. This sustainable insecticide consists of a wettable powder formulation that is easily blended with water to form a suspension and can be applied as a direct foliar spray or fogging. BioCeres WP is enhanced with UV inhibitors and other proprietary stabilizers to form an extremely stable and predictable biological product that can be used regularly with no mutational resistance.

BioCeres WP is used for the biological control of numerous pests at all stages of their lifecycles including whiteflies, aphids, thrips, and spotted wing drosophila by adhering to the insect’s cuticle, germinating and piercing its outer shell, ultimately causing death. It can be used in a wide range of agricultural, nursery, and greenhouse crops including ornamental plants and edibles.

When an insect comes into direct contact or consumes the Beauveria bassiana, the conidia’s germination tubes begin to grow directly into the body of the insect by penetrating its outer shell (cuticle). These hyphae will not only pierce the insect causing physical changes but will release toxins as well, slowing their movement and reducing the damage that the insect can inflict on plants. This infection from BioCeres WP results in a white mold growth, called White Muscardine Disease, which leads to the eventual death of the insect. The Muscardine Disease will continue to produce spores, spreading to other insects and repeating the process without harming plants.

BioCeres WP is part of a larger BioSafe system of products and is made stronger by working together with other biological products such as AzaGuard, which acts as an insect growth regulator, stopping the molting process between the larval and pupal stages. Combining this effect with BioCeres WP, which targets all lifecycle stages, especially adults, effectively controls various insects that can harm crops of all kinds. Products like these are extremely effective as part of an integrated IPM program and aid growers in being proactive against pests rather than reactive. Ultimately saving time, money, and giving peace of mind to growers as they deal with stubborn pests anywhere in their production.

BioSafe Systems: Growing Our California Technical Team

Kyle Pickles

 

EAST HARTFORD, CT, April 5 – BioSafe Systems is proud to announce the addition of Kyle Pickles to the Agriculture Technical Sales Team. Kyle is a graduate of California Polytechnic State University, San Luis Obispo with a BS degree in Agriculture Systems Management and a minor in Plant Protection and Crop Science.  Kyle is driven, and eager to provide a high level of technical support and service to the Central Coast territory covering Oxnard/Ventura up to the Salinas Valley.

Kyle is a native Californian, raised in Lompoc, and was immersed in agriculture at a young age, becoming actively involved in the local FFA program. In 2014, Kyle completed his Cal Poly degrees and took an opportunity working with The Deerpoint Group providing sales and technical support in the Water Treatment services division. Kyle quickly decided his passion was working directly with growers in helping identifying crop protection & fertility challenges and transitioned his career into working with Helena Chemical Company where he evolved his passion on solving grower challenges on a large variety of vegetable, fruit and alfalfa cropping systems.

During those times when Kyle isn’t helping solve grower challenges and providing technical support, he enjoys the many outdoor activities that California offers, including surfing, hunting and hiking.

BioSafe Systems is excited to welcome Kyle Pickles to our growing California Technical Sales Team as he quickly immerses himself into his new territory and responsibilities.  We are proud to have Kyle as an addition to the growing BioSafe family!

Killer Pathogens Can Be Murder on Crops

Courtesy of Growing America

They lurk deep down in the soils in crop fields—little murderers with names like Rhizoctonia, Pectobacterium and Pythium. You can’t see them, but you can see the mayhem they cause to your crops. Rotting roots. Wilted leaves. Lesions. Stunted growth. Money out the window.

“Soil-borne plant pathogens can limit or even ruin an entire vegetable or fruit crop if left uncontrolled,” says Vijay Kumar Choppakatla, Plant Pathologist/Director of Research and Development for BioSafe Systems. “The challenge is that many of them have a very broad host range, making a wide variety of crops susceptible to the destruction they can cause…and often you don’t know the pathogens exist until the worst damage is done.”

Choppakatla says it doesn’t take much to create the perfect pathogen storm. Among plant pathologists, and at BioSafe, a family-owned manufacturer of biodegradable disease-control products, based in East Hartford, Connecticut, that perfect storm is known as the “three corners of the disease triangle.” You start with a virulent pathogen, add a susceptible host (your crop plants), place in a congenial environment, and boom…a successful plant disease is born.

Even worse, soil-borne pathogens tend to be hardy—some of the nastiest fungal-based pathogens such as sclerotia can thrive in some of the harshest conditions and persist in the soil for many years, whether or not a field is planted.

Bottom line? Once pathogens have made themselves comfortable in your soil, they’re difficult to eradicate. Difficult, but not impossible.

Combination of Management Practices

Choppakatla says most growers use a combination of management practices to combat pathogens, including cultural, chemical and biological methods, all to achieve what today is generally known as “biosecurity.” In simple terms, biosecurity is the elimination and prevention of disease pressures in an environment, thereby maintaining a healthy growing area. The challenge is to exercise biosecurity while being kind to the environment

  1.  Cultural Methods

When you think “cultural” management of soil-borne pathogens, think about the things you’re likely doing already such as adding organic matter to your soil, rotating crops, planting cover crops between fields, controlling irrigation, and disposing of culled produce somewhere where it won’t re-infect a field.

Another simple yet powerful eradication method is soil solarization, literally using the heat from the sun to kill the bad organisms. While it may not be viable for large fields, it works well in smaller plots.

According to Rodale’s Organic Life, the process involves laying a clear plastic tarp atop soil cleared of plant debris to concentrate the sun’s energy in the top 12 to 18 inches. The heat trapped below the plastic can reach highs of 140°F in the top 6 inches, killing weed seeds, insects, nematodes, and many fungal and bacterial pathogens. It’s worth noting that the beneficial effects from solarization are greatest near the soil surface and decrease with depth.

2.    Chemical Methods

Chemical methods involve use of soil fumigation prior to crop planting, seed treatment with chemicals and post-plant soil fungicides.

“Using chemicals can be effective, however, the application processes can be cumbersome and intensive,” says Choppakatla. “Some soil fumigants require growers to adhere to special management plans to properly administer the treatment and avoid any non-target exposure to the applied fumigant. Plus, there’s a waiting period between application and planting of about 3 to 4 weeks. It’s also critical to create buffer zones around the treated fields.”

Moreover, Choppakatla points out, for organic growers, conventional fumigants aren’t even an option. Which is why many farmers, traditional and organic alike, turn to the natural option of biological-based control and eradication of soil-borne pathogens—solutions that are not only safer for the environment, but also for people and animals.

3.    Biological Methods

Biological-based methods (Bio-control) involve the use of registered bacterial and/or fungal-based bio-control agents; natural preventiatives which protect plant roots from soil pathogen infection; and use of soil inoculants which use beneficial endophytes (microbes) to promote plant health.

Choppakatla says the primary objective of these all-natural treatments is to address soil-borne pathogens in a way that maintains sustainable soil health without negatively impacting the health and safety of people and the environment.

“An important consideration in the use of biological management options is that they are primarily preventive in nature,” notes Choppakatla. “In other words, they help to prevent the infection but may not help with control once infection is established. So timing of application is key with this method.”

BioSafe’s treatments involve integration of chemical and biological based methods designed to help with controlling soil pathogens while maintaining/improving the soil health, which is critical for plant growth.

“The chemical treatment method we’ve developed involves use of activated hydrogen peroxide-based chemistry and both of the products in the system are non-residual and non-toxic.”

Among the products based under this group of chemicals (H202 + PAA) are TerraStart and TerraClean 5.0 which Choppakatla says are both EPA approved for use as a soil bactericide/fungicide. TerraClean 5.0 is also OMRI approved for use in organic production.

“Upon application to the soil,” explains Choppakatla, “the products basically sanitize the soil by oxidizing the plant pathogenpropagules immediately on contact. Then the chemicals break down into water, oxygen and acetic acid, which are completely safe by-products. As an added benefit, there is a release of oxygen, a bonus benefit because it helps oxygenate the plant root zone.”

We all want effective solutions for maintaining healthy soil that contributes to healthy growth and high yields, and sometimes the idea of “alternative methods” can give us pause. As part of a company that specializes in those alternative methods, Choppakatla knows well the hesitation some growers have to try new technologies.

“Ask the hard questions, read up on reliable efficacy data, and do the math to make sure it fits your budget. But above all, whatever treatment plan you adopt for your operation, consider its effects on the environment.”

BioSafe Systems Introduces PerCarb Broad-Spectrum Bactericide/Fungicide

EAST HARTFORD, CT, May 1 – BioSafe Systems announces PerCarb (Sodium Carbonate Peroxyhydrate), a new alternative to Potassium Bicarbonate and lime sulfur products for use in agriculture.

 PerCarb is an EPA-registered, 0-hour REI, broad-spectrum bactericide/fungicide designed to treat and control plant pathogens that cause major foliar diseases on field-grown crops, tree crops, vine crops, berries, small fruits, vegetable crops and greenhouse fruits and vegetables.

 PerCarb is designed for superior coverage in foliar applications with no phytotoxicity as well as pre and post-season dormant applications for many tree and vine crops, providing excellent control of downy mildew, powdery mildew, botrytis rot, bacterial leaf spot and more.

 For more information, contact BioSafe Systems toll-free at 888-273-3088 or visit biosafesystems.com.

BioSafe Systems: Growing our East Coast Technical Team

EAST HARTFORD, CT, April 13 – BioSafe Systems is proud to announce the strategic hire of Patrick Clark, as a Technical Sales Representative for the Northeast territory of the United States.  He brings with him an extensive experience and regional knowledge of the agriculture market.

Patrick served as a business unit agronomist for Helena Chemical Company where he provided agronomic and precision agriculture support in the eastern half of the US. He was also employed by Marrone Bio Innovations as a sales representative in the Northeast & Great Lakes regions. Prior to that, he was the general manager of a wholesale nursery servicing the ornamental and agriculture markets in the Northern California, Western Nevada, and Southern Oregon markets. Patrick holds three Associate of Agriculture Science degrees from Butte-Glen Community College and a Bachelor’s Degree in Agriculture Science: Crops, Horticulture, & Land Resource Management from California State University – Chico, CA. 

He will be based in the greater Philadelphia area and is advantageously located to best support the Northeastern US territory via travel. In Patrick’s spare time, he enjoys camping/hiking, backpacking, kayaking, fishing, and hunting. He is an avid reader of history and science based subjects, and he thoroughly enjoys travelling and exploring new cultures. Additionally, Patrick volunteers his time at a local community garden project as well as hosting mini-seminars there to home gardeners on a wide range of agricultural and horticultural topics. BioSafe Systems welcomes Patrick and is pleased to have him as a part of the family.

For more information, contact BioSafe Systems toll-free at 888-273-3088

Must Haves for Pre-season Preparation

By: Matthew Lavallee

With Spring upon us a new growing season begins across America, the importance of pre-season preparation can’t be understated; ensuring that you are equipped for future issues now can save a lot of time and money later down the road. Anticipating a pest or pathogen outbreak keeps growers more mindful throughout the entire production and keeping ahead of these potential issues will aid in generating a bountiful crop with as little loss as possible. Read more about how to stay on top of your crop this season by preparing early.

Treat those seeds

Pre-season preparation begins with properly treating seeds prior to planting using hot water treatments or bactericide/fungicide washes to kill pathogens on the seed itself before they begin to germinate. Using washes and baths is the most effective way to neutralizes pathogens but the process requires immediate planting once they are introduced to water for such a prolonged period. Plan ahead and ensure that your fields are ready to receive the seed as soon as it has been treated to maximize control of bacteria and fungus but minimize the loss of seed due to moisture.

 

Healthy Soil is imperative

Of course, planting treated seeds into infected soil undoes this hard work so to make sure that planting areas are prepped to receive cleaned seed as soon as possible, focus on eradicating soil borne pathogens, pests, and nematodes in the field itself by treating the planting area with bactericides/fungicides especially in the root zone, managing pathogens and establishing a proper starting point for healthy plants. Once the pathogens have been addressed, using a beneficial soil amendment or inoculant can increase stimulation of healthy root systems and aid in increased yields all season long.

 

Don’t forget Pre, and Post emergent weed treatment

Now that the seeds and soil are clean you have developed a near perfect breeding ground for all plants, including the ones that you didn’t introduce. Controlling weeds immediately and continuing throughout the entire growing season should be a top priority for any grower. Take action early whenever possible with pre-emergent herbicides to gain the upper hand early and continue the fight once weeds have broken the surface with post emergent weed control in order to keep resource-competing weeds at bay.

Proper weed management should not be limited to the crop area but also practiced around the entire premises. Don’t neglect to use broad spectrum herbicides in less attended areas such as roadsides/driveways, fence lines, and around barns and storage areas where unwanted plants can become unwieldy and problematic rather quickly.

 

Prep now, reap later

Following steps like these is just one part of a healthy and productive season, but without pre-season preparation, you could be setting yourself up for more issues than there is time to address. Acting now, and keeping the pressure on ensures success that will last all season long.

USDA Reveals New Safety Measures to Reduce Salmonella and Campylobacter in Poultry

Published with permission by Food Safety Magazine.  Originally posted February 4, 2016.

Today, the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA’s) Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS) announced that the agency has finalized new federal standards to reduce Salmonella and Campylobacter in ground chicken and turkey products, chicken breasts, legs and wings.

According to FSIS, these new measures will lead to an average of 50,000 fewer foodborne illnesses annually.

FSIS hopes to meet a number of goals with these new standards:

  • Reduce Campylobacter illnesses by 32 percent
  • Reduce Salmonella illnesses from chicken parts, ground chicken and ground turkey by 30 percent
  • Reduce Campylobacter presence in ground turkey by 19 percent

“Over the past seven years, USDA has put in place tighter and more strategic food safety measures than ever before for meat and poultry products. We have made strides in modernizing every aspect of food safety inspection, from company record keeping, to labeling requirements, to the way we perform testing in our labs,” says Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack. “These new standards, in combination with greater transparency about poultry companies’ food safety performance and better testing procedures, will help prevent tens of thousands of foodborne illnesses every year, reaching our Healthy People 2020 goals.”

To test the food safety performance of establishments that prepare meat and poultry products, FSIS uses pathogen reduction performance standards. By making the standards for ground poultry tougher to meet, ground poultry products nationwide will have less contamination and therefore result in fewer foodborne illnesses. Even though it’s been 20 years since FSIS implemented performance standards for whole chickens, it has since been proven that levels of Salmonella contamination actually increases when whole chickens are further processed into smaller parts. These smaller parts–mainly wings and breasts–represent 80 percent of the chicken available to American consumers. Another part of these new standards is that FSIS has updated its microbial testing schedule at poultry facilities. This will be coupled with more of each company’s food safety performance details being posted online.

“This approach to poultry inspection is based on science, supported by strong data, and will truly improve public health,” says USDA Deputy Under Secretary for Food Safety Al Almanza. “The new performance standards will complement the many other proactive, prevention-based food policies that we’ve put in place in recent years to make America’s supply of meat and poultry safer to eat.”