Jan 10, 2023New automated beneficials dispenser at Biobest
Biological control and pollination products provider Biobest has introduced an automated beneficials dispenser that can help control pests such as mites.
The trademarked Entomatic is a new adaptable automatic dispenser that offers fast and even distribution of beneficials in a wide range of glasshouse crops. The equipment is designed to help growers reduce labor costs and optimize control, according to a news release.
The machine is highly adaptable and can be configured to suit almost all glasshouse crops, including soft fruit, protected salads and ornamentals in any growing system, according to the release.
Available globally from Biobest, Entomatic is the result of a collaboration with Hortiworld, the
Dutch-based producer of Bio Bull horticultural equipment.
Entomatic is a simple modular system. “We’ve designed it to be easy to configure and intuitive to use,” HortiWorld’s Rembrandt van Meegen, who also owns RAM Engineering and Bio Bull, said in the release. “Extensively trialled and tested, Entomatic can handle all common beneficial carrier materials – vermiculite, sawdust, bran and buck wheat husk. With no requirement for a pipe rail system, it can be mounted on a cart, tractor or spray equipment. All this adaptability brings benefits to us as manufacturers, Biobest as suppliers and growers as users.”
Entomatic has been designed and engineered to deliver an even, accurate and homogenous flow of mite products, including Phytoseiulus-System, Amblyseius-System and Swirskii-System, Hanne Steel, Biobest’s product portfolio manager for beneficials, said in the release. “It can also play a valuable role dispensing suitable pupae and egg-based biocontrol products,” she said.
Because manually dispensing beneficials can be highly labor intensive, time consuming and costly, Steel said the product will aid growers. “A repetitive task, it requires high levels of focus, and it can be difficult to assess if the task has been performed well,” she said in the release. “To optimize biocontrol strategies and its effectiveness, it is important to get even distribution of beneficials throughout the crop.”
Having been approached by a North American strawberry grower keen to automate the process, HortiWorld decided to design and engineer a reliable solution. In 2020, at the prototype stage, the company approached Biobest. The two firms collaborated to fine-tune and validate the Entomatic for commercial release, according to the release.
“Compared to other dispensers, Entomatic continuously and gently blows the mites on to the crop,” van Meegen said in the release. “By slowing down the air flow, more mites land on the leaves – where they are required – with minimal falling to the floor. The reservoir enables different products to be carried. When pre-mixed, an auger system provides continuous and homogenous supply to the dispensing points.”
The product aids labor. “It can be challenging to schedule and co-ordinate sufficient crop workers to manually apply biocontrols coinciding with deliveries,” Steel said in the release. “With 2 to 16 dispensing points, the Entomatic can automatically dispense beneficials in up to 16 rows simultaneously. Depending on the number of dispensing points and row length, it has a dispensing capacity of up to 1,5 ha per hour.”
“While helping growers improve their labor efficiency, the Entomatic helps ensure the beneficials are dispensed evenly throughout the crop – a prerequisite of good biological control strategies,” she said in the release.