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Finer Spraying Services

Mavrik® – the “soft” crop protection packing a punch in beet

New ADAMA product benefits from OP backlash
Finer Spraying Services

Concerns over staff safety, and the need to protect beneficial insects, are increasingly seeing spray contractors to turn from organophosphates to “soft” crop protection options.

That’s according to ADAMA New Zealand Commercial Manager Doug Speers. He is quick to emphasise, however, that doesn’t mean taking a backwards step in efficacy. A case in point is Mavrik Aquaflow Insecticide (Mavrik), which ADAMA launched to the beet market in 2021.

Mavrik offers effective control of major beet pests Nysius and cutworm while having low toxicity to beneficial insects foraging in beets or surrounding crops. Crucially, it is also safer for those using it.

Doug says in crops such as beet where the stakes are high, the farming sector has tended to be particularly cautious about adopting new chemistry. Mavrik has proven an exception.

Grant Pollock, owner of South Taranaki’s Finer Spraying Services, who specified Mavrik for 250 ha of beet last season, agrees. “It was a “no brainer”. One of my reasons was applicator safety. But it’s also one of the few sprays that will control Nysius and cutworm and leave the friendlies.”

Well-respected in the industry, Grant began working for Finer Spraying Services in 1986. By 2005 he was a partner in the company and in 2016 bought Jim Finer out. Jim is still actively involved and helps out especially through the busy months.

Grant says right from the start, he and former business partner Jim decided to take a firm line when it came to protecting staff from the hazards of harsh toxins. “The products might sometimes cost a little more, but when we explain to clients that they work, why we chose them, and that it’s better for the environment too, we’ve had no resistance.”

“We’re very focussed on staff here, and that includes considering the products they have to handle.”

Grant’s brother, Matamata-based Charlie Pollock co-owns busy Pollock Spraying Services with wife Vicki. Charlie too chose Mavrik for beet crops. “It was the right thing to do for our clients and our staff.”

Charlie says he’s noticed a definite trend away from traditional “hard” crop protection products. “People are steering away from the old-style chemistry for health reasons. And Mavrik, it only kills the target insects – it’s not just about wiping everything out.”

Mavrik has as its active tau-fluvalinate. Unlike organophosphates (OPs) or other synthetic pyrethroids (SPs) Mavrik offers strong control of major beet pests Nysius and cutworm while having low toxicity to beneficial insects foraging in beets or other crops nearby. Mavrik affects the nervous system of Nysius and cutworm after direct contact or ingestion. While these pests are overcome, the impact on beneficial insects including ground beetles, bees and wasps, lacewings, hoverflies and ladybirds is minimal.

Without effective control, the economic impact of Nysius and cutworm can be substantial.

Nysius huttoni (also known as wheat bug) sucks the phloem from the shoots and young stems of emerging beet, leaving them weakened and prone to wind damage. This pest alone can cause crop losses well above 50% in the worst cases.

Young cutworm Agrotis ipsilon aneituma will forage on beet leaves while the larger more destructive caterpillars can chew through seedlings, taking them out at ground level.

As with any spray application, timing is vital. Doug says some farmers, particularly in the southern regions, had been a little late getting onto the pests last season. “It meant they didn’t get quite the results you’d expect. An early reaction can make all the difference.”

ADAMA recommends that Mavrik be applied at the first sign of the two pests’ presence, ensuring good coverage of plants and surrounding soil. The product is crop safe when applied to beet seedlings at cotyledon stage in a tank-mixture with ADAMA beet herbicides and other commonly used pesticides.

Mavrik is the latest addition to ADAMA’s powerful, safe, and flexible beet protection toolbox which has grown in response to specialist technical, spray contractor, and farmer feedback. Taking a “whole crop approach” it is a suite of globally sourced and locally tried and tested products.

ADAMA’s beet herbicides complementing Mavrik are based around the use of a robust pre-emergence spray with a follow up to control any subsequent weeds. Spearheading the programme is Goltix® Gold with its proven efficacy in particularly hard-to-control beet weeds including fathen and wireweed. Other compatible herbicide products in the beet programme include Ethosat®, ToreroTM and Rifle®.

For more information on Mavrik click here

Taking care of the bad guys. And the good guys.

MAVRIK provides powerful, yet gentle control of Nysius and cutworm in beet