Ball FloraPlant has announced its offshore cuttings farms did not use neonicotinoid-based chemicals during its spring crop production last shipping season, and will continue to be neonic-free this year. Instead, the company and its greenhouse managers are relying on alternative means to supply insect-free cuttings to its global customer base.
The offshore Ball FloraPlant facilities that have eliminated neonics in production are Floricultura (Guatemala) and Las Limas (Nicaragua). Ball FloraPlant partner Selecta (Uganda and Kenya) is also neonic free.
“Our farms moved toward eliminating neonicotinoid chemicals a few seasons ago, before it became a more mainstream issue. Our reasons were three-fold: buildup of pest resistance, overall chemical expense and to reduce any toxic effects to the environment,” says Aart De Leeuw, Production Director for Ball FloraPlant.
It’s all about reliability, says De Leeuw, about the Ball FloraPlant production approach. “By starting clean — with clean and clear build-up material — we are able to adhere to a zero tolerance rule. Any insect sightings are dealt with immediately to remove old leaves and possible eggs from the stock, without the need for neonic chemicals.”
By developing new insect management techniques, Ball FloraPlant will be able to serve all North American, European and worldwide greenhouse growers. Enhanced scouting and control measures advance the knowledge and application of best practices in unrooted cutting production in its farms. The state-of-the-art design of Ball FloraPlant’s Las Limas greenhouses features physical barriers, keeping insects out from the beginning.