While there are a variety of solutions to almost every biological issue that causes crop losses, new research indicates stress management could be the most important contributor to yield optimization, says Chuck Kupatt, Crop Microclimate Management (CMM) president.
“The concept of managing stress in crops is new,” says Kupatt. “It’s very early on, and the opportunities and benefit to the growers need to be understood.”
Currently, yield losses due to stress are typically three or four fold when comparing it to other factors, and solutions for horticultural and row crops have been few and far between, he says. The company’s current G3 technology aims to reduce abiotic stress in row plants by influencing the stress signaling pathway at an early age using naturally occurring dicarboxylic acids.
Although heat, light and drought are all factors that could potentially trigger stress-related conditions, frost and freeze protection also need to be addressed.
“Growers haven’t had solutions for row crops and reducing stress for those crops,” Kupatt says. “We want to reduce the instance of growers saying their yield has been good or bad because of the weather.”
Kupatt estimates that biopesticides directed at abiotic stress management could produce a 5- to 28-fold return-on-investment for growers. In addition, he indicates that well-priced and convenient products could incite worldwide adoption.
“A grower in Australia once said to me ‘for the first time, we have the ability to reduce the impact of our environment on our cropping,’” he says.
CMM’s has commercialized its Screen Duo brand in the U.S. with fruit and vegetable growers and in Australia, Mexico and Egypt. Business opportunities around the world are becoming robust as countries are beginning to take abiotic stress management into account.
CMM recently entered into a distribution agreement with Certis USA to market its Screen Duo and a licensing agreement for its new G3 technology to better educate growers about new technological advancements in the biopesticide industry.
“We think we can bring a more efficacious and cost effective solution by taking something that’s targeted for stress management and apply it to horticulture and row crops,” Kupatt says.
For more information on CMM, visit www.cropstress.com.