Archive for 2022

Boost your soil health with TRICHOTECH WP and MYTECH WP

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Buy MYTECH® WP or TRICHOTECH® WP and get a 5% discount.*

Crop roots are vulnerable to attack by a variety of parasitic nematodes and fungal diseases which co-habit their soil. Growers who use MYTECH® WP and TRICHOTECH® WP on their crops defend their roots with colonies of beneficial fungi and boost their soil and plant health.

Combining MYTECH® WP and TRICHOTECH® WP treatments allows growers to simultaneously defend crops against plant parasitic nematodes and common soil-borne fungal diseases, while boosting root growth and development, allowing more nutrients to make their way up the plant.

About MYTECH WP

MYTECH® WP is a biological nematicide containing Paecilomyces lilacinus (F18), a naturally occurring nematode killing-fungus used to sustainably manage plant parasitic nematodes (PPNs) including Root knot, Cyst, Root lesion, Burrowing and Reniform amongst others. MYTECH® WP parasitizes and subsequently kills all lifestages of target PPNs.

Fig. 1. MYTECH® WP mode of action.

Read more about MYTECH® WP.

About TRICHOTECH WP

TRICHOTECH ® WP contains Trichoderma asperellum a soil-dwelling fungi used to defend crops against disease-causing fungi Fusarium spp., Pythium spp., Rhizoctonia spp. and Sclerotinia spp. TRICHOTECH ® WP also aids in releasing nutrients stored in organic matter and boosts plant development.

Fig. 2. TRICHOTECH® WP mode of action.

Read more about TRICHOTECH® WP.

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*Registration and availability may vary by region. Offer only valid until 31 October 2022. Contact your local supplier or info@dudutech.com for more information.

Understanding nematodes could unlock the potential of your farm.

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A key to unlocking the potential of a crop is buried in the upper layers of the soil. Living within soil water pockets are worm-like micro-organisms called nematodes (phylum Nematoda). These tiny creatures amass large populations and in agriculture, they can help or hinder. Some nematodes are plant-parasitic (or PPNs for short), causing over $100 billion in crop damage annually, while others are beneficial, holding enormous potential for sustainable crop protection or helping make nutrients more readily available to plants.

By Cory Smit and Catherine Gacheri

Nematodes are some of the most abundant animals on Earth. Nematology, the study of nematodes, is vast, having identified over 28 thousand species to date, many with feeding habits which are important in agriculture. Fortunately, there are a few fundamentals that farmers can use to simplify and act on the information.

  1. Some nematodes are crop pests, feeding on or infecting roots, bulbs or leaves. The image above is a typical example of a Root-Knot Nematode or Meloidogyne spp. infection of roots. (Photo: Scot Nelson, 2017. Meloidogyne incognita on Solanum lycopersicum.).
  2. Some nematodes are beneficial in killing crop pests and while others help unlock nutrients.
  3. Routinely monitor nematodes in all growing areas using professional nematode analysis, and deploy the recommendations.
  4. Nematodes reproduce quickly and in massive numbers – good news if they are beneficial, bad news if they are pests.


Fig. 1. Typical nematode lifecycle. Duration depends on species and other factors.

Do nematodes speed up the release of nutrients?

The interplay between bacteria, fungi and beneficial nematodes that feed on them can contribute to the supply of nitrogen and accelerate the mineralization of untapped organic nutrients. By consuming the bacteria and fungi which break down compost within the soil, these nematodes can speed up the release of nitrogen into the soil by releasing excess nutrients, making it available for crops to use.

Tip: Growers can stimulate this process by incorporating manure and compost into the soil to provide a habitat for bacterial and fungal colonies to grow in, making new food for the beneficial nematodes 

Can nematodes be used as Biocontrols?

Dudutech’s research and development of nematodes as biocontrols take advantage of species which kill crop pests, called Entomopathogenic Nematodes (EPNs). EPNs find and kill their target pest to use in their reproductive cycle. Using EPNs helps growers reduce their reliance on chemicals which may unintentionally harm the soil ecology and non-target beneficial micro-organisms.

Using research on their host range, Dudutech developed four nematode-based products to tackle key pests. These include:

  • NEMATECH® S – Steinernema feltiae D2 – for Thrips and Sciarid Flies,
  • NEMATECH C – Steinernema carpocapsae – for Cutworm,
  • NEMATECH HHeterorhabditis bacteriophora F27 – for beetles,
  • SLUGTECHPhasmarhabditis hermaphrodita M1 – for slugs and snails.

The ability of infective juveniles to quickly seek out and kill their target before spreading to new hosts makes these beneficial nematodes powerful agricultural tools for the sustainable management of a wide variety of crop pests. In particular, nematodes are widely used in integrated pest management of Thrips.


Fig. 3. Nematech S SP mode of action.

Due to their complex lifecycles, no single control option can provide satisfactory control of Thrips. If any part of their lifecycle is left unmanaged, the populations can become “resident” and quickly boom, causing significant damage to crops.

In most cases, Thrips infestations in greenhouse crops are from resident populations.
Most thrips species including Western Flower Thrips (WFT, Frankliniella occidentalis) spend up to one-third of their lifecycle in the soil. When used with above-ground predators, such as AMBLYTECH and MONTECH, and traps (STICKTECH), the nematodes in NEMATECH® S play an important role underground in the biocontrol strategy by killing Thrips in their soil-living stages.

How can farmers sustainably manage plant-parasitic nematodes (PPNs)?

PPNs are crop pests, causing lesions, cysts and rot in the root system. Blue, yellow and red (Toxicity Classes 3 through 1 a and b) chemical nematicides pose numerous problems with far-reaching effects for growers and consumers including the development of nematicide resistance, exceeding residue limits (MRLs) and negative effects on non-target organisms. These issues have far-reaching effects for farmers as they make pesticide applications more expensive, restrict access to markets and harm beneficial nematodes living alongside pest nematodes.

To help growers tackle these nematodes in a sustainable way, Dudutech has paired MYTECH® and NEMguard. MYTECH® contains a powerful nematophagous fungus (Paecilomyces lilacinus) which selectively targets plant-parasitic nematodes. Mytech kills all life stages of most plant-parasitic nematodes. The fungal spores on treated crops attach to their target and form mycelia on the host, feeding on it before releasing spores to begin the cycle over.


Fig. 4. Mytech mode of action.

NEMguard® is a powerful environmentally intelligent nematicide containing plant-sourced ingredients which can be used to control PPNs. The (proprietary) polysulphides contained in NEMguard rapidly cause oxidative stress and kills PPNs. Due to their biology, beneficial nematodes are less affected by NEMguard when compared to routinely used broad spectrum nematicides which may damage the environment.


Fig. 5. NEMguard SC mode of action.

The soil beneath crops is a complex but delicate ecosystem. By looking after it sustainably, growers can take advantage of the plant health benefits afforded by healthy soils.

Interested in finding out more?

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Get ahead of Thrips and Whitefly using our range of EPFs!

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Buy LECATECH® WP or BEAUVITECH® WP and get a 5% discount.*

Thrips and whiteflies can be a major challenge to growers as their numbers can quickly balloon, causing significant crop losses in their wake. By using LECATECH® WP and BEAUVITECH® WP, growers can sustainably manage these pests without negatively impacting the environment, people and other non-target organisms.

LECATECH® WP and BEAUVITECH® WP are easy-to-use bio-insecticides containing specialised fungi that kill target pests on crops. Using these products together allows growers to target a wide range of crop pests with different modes of action.

About BEAUVITECH WP

BEAUVITECH® WP is a biological insecticide containing Beauveria bassiana used to manage Thrips, whiteflies and other soft-bodied insects. B. bassiana is an insect-killing or entomopathogenic fungus (EPF) that causes white-muscardine disease in target pests. When BEAUVITECH® WP spores come into contact with their target host with relative humidity >70% and temperatures between 18 – 30°C, their mode of action begins.

Fig. 1. BEAUVITECH® WP mode of action.

Read more about BEAUVITECH® WP.

About LECATECH WP

LECATECH® WP is a biological insecticide containing Lecanicillium lecanii, a naturally occurring Entomopathogenic fungus (EPF) used for sustainable, residue-free management of Whiteflies. When LECATECH® WP spores come into contact with their target host with relative humidity >70% and temperatures between 18 – 30°C, their mode of action begins.

Fig. 1. LECATECH® WP mode of action.

Read more about LECATECH® WP.

Enquire now using the form below.








*Registration and availability may vary by region. Offer only valid until 31 August 2022. Contact your local supplier or info@dudutech.com for more information.

Craig Oulton completed the Lewa Marathon, barefoot!

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By Cory Smit – Dudutech

In an inspirational feat of endurance, Craig Oulton (former Dudutech board member), completed the full 42.2km Lewa Safari Marathon ‘22 barefoot in just under 5 hours. Craig said he took on the barefoot challenge to raise funds for “Sports4Change, a wholly Kenyan charity organization that sponsors the education of orphans and other bright and deserving students in Kenya.”

Competing in the Lewa Safari Marathon is a must-do experience for runners around the world. The race takes place on an undulating course through northern Kenya’s majestic Lewa Conservancy, with endless landscapes and spectating wildlife. However, as marathons go, Lewa is considered one of the most difficult in the world.

Craig Oulton before his barefoot marathon attempt.

According to Craig, who has completed it 7 times and 3 barefoot, the marathon has its own particular set of challenges. The Northern Kenyan environment is inherently a tough place to run – the hot dry weather, high altitude, rough terrain and wildlife dangers are major challenges for participants, let alone anyone without trainers.

“My main concern was breaking toes, which I did on my last attempt…” Craig said, “thorns are also an enemy which forces you to be very aware of your footfalls barefoot. The biggest issue is how hot the ground gets, it literally burns your feet.”

As an experienced runner who regularly participates in full and ultra marathons, Craig said exhaustion and fatigue are expected. “I was not worried as I have run marathons before”, he said, “and I know what my brain and body are telling me… I generally ignore this and keep going.”

Craig running on the hot ground in Lewa.

“Training is so critical if you don’t do the mileage you won’t finish on the day,” he stated, adding that the practice strengthens his feet, ankles and pads. Without proper training, Craig risks serious injury.

One of the particular joys of running the Lewa Safari Marathon is experiencing the wildlife on foot. “It was amazing. As soon as we set off, we had three rhinos 2 km out. Lots of buffalo and plains game. Later in the run, about 3 hours in, we had a huge herd of elephants in the marsh. The spotter planes, a helicopter and rangers, both in cars and on foot, did a brilliant job of keeping us safe.”

Craig dedicated this barefoot marathon to raising funds for Sports4Change, a Kenyan charitable organisation which helps provide bright and deserving kids access to good education. By rallying Dudutech and other donors Craig raised Ksh500,000 for Sports4Change.

To find out more about Sports4Change and Craig’s barefoot marathon, go to https://www.sports4change.org/cause/school-fee-fund/. Donations are still open, please consider supporting this inspirational cause. Watch the Sports4Change video made for Craig!

Construction of new canteen and office buildings take shape at Ladybird farm

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Ladybird farm is buzzing as the new canteen and office building sites become vertical. The new canteen and office buildings are part of a project to centralise daily life at Dudutech.

Dudutech (2022). 3D Render: A sneak peek at the Canteen interior.

Dudutech (2022). 3D Render: new office exterior.

The office building will be home to operations, finance, commercial, HR and specialist services under its 720m² roof.

The canteen features a galley kitchen, cold store and seating for 150 spaced 1.5m apart under COVID-19 H&S rules. The buildings will bring the team closer together, driving our culture of team-spirit further.

Steinernema carpocapsae production underway at Dudutech’s biorational labs

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S. carpocapsae is a powerful novel entomopathogenic nematode already in use in Europe and the US, and our production capabilities have helped create additional availability.

Cutworms (Agrotis spp.) and leatherjackets (Tipula spp.) are larval stage pests that damage vegetable, cereal and root crops by biting and feeding on the plant stems and leaves. To combat these pests, Dudutech has begun production and R&D of Steinernema carpocapsae a deadly pest-parasitic nematode that targets Agrotis spp. and Tipula spp. to complete their lifecycle.

Fig. 1. Typical S. carpocapsae lifecycle.

Watch this space for more news and information on “Nematech C” development.

Catherine Gacheri prepares for a new role as Regional Technical Manager 

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As Catherine Gacheri prepares for her new role as “Regional Technical Manager”, we reflect on her history in IPM at Dudutech.

 

During her 21 year tenure at Dudutech, Catherine Gacheri has blazed a trail for IPM in Kenya and now Africa. Having worked in every part of Dudutech, Catherine is uniquely positioned – with a deep understanding of every step of the IPM product journey from R&D to in-field technical support. In 2022, Catherine will also take up an exciting new role as Regional Technical Manager. 

As Dudutech expands further into new markets, the new position was created to provide customers with enhanced technical support and new product development. Catherine said, “the position offers an opportunity for career and personal growth.” As Regional Technical Manager, Catherine will also work closely with R&D, marketing and training to help farmers access information and advice. 

 

Catherine’s track record as an IPM champion 

Catherine joined Dudutech as a Field Trials Officer in 2001 after graduating from University of Nairobi with an BSc in Agriculture, although her first experience with biologicals came from ICRISAT (International Crops Research Institute for the Semi-Arid Tropics) where she worked with natural enemies for pest control. Starting with a research role, Catherine conducted some of Africa’s earliest field trials using these biotech solutions.  

In one story Catherine told in an interview, she recalled isolating a natural enemy for aphids from her mother’s garden. In another, she spoke about her contribution to academia through her paper on what is now known as hotspot treatment that led to a new strategy that reduces the cost of natural enemy applications. (Read about the research here).

By 2002, Catherine’s role evolved into production management for the outdoor insectaries. This experience provided insight into how the mites and parasitoids behave and what makes them thrive. It also primed Catherine for the next 16 years of her career providing technical support to internal, external and international growers across Africa. 

According to Catherine, the early to mid-2000s was an adoption phase for the IPM industry. “At that time, biological pest controls were a new concept to growers in Kenya. There was little information available,” she recalled. “The landscape was very much chemical focussed so we had to prove that it works.” 

This challenge allowed Catherine the opportunity to develop close long-term relationships with the growers and share knowledge about IPM. “Despite the early hurdles, the farmers quickly realised the value of using biologicals and widespread adoption began among the commercial/export farmers,” Catherine commented. 

As exportation began to Zimbabwe and South Africa, Catherine’s deep expertise was leveraged in the new markets and her role officially became “Field Technical Support East & Southern Africa.” Using the experiences gained in Kenya, Catherine was equipped to help growers transition to IPM. Her work in the region helped cement Dudutech’s position as a leading IPM supplier in Africa. 

After 7 years in this role, she was promoted to Kenya Technical Sales Manager, bringing her closer to her family. Her existing experience and decades-long relationships with Kenyan growers meant Catherine was the best choice to drive sales in Kenya. 

During her career, Catherine has invested in personal development and continued her education, attaining a MSc in Agricultural Entomology and a PG Cert. in sales and marketing from the University of Cape Town. 

Zimbabwe’s Forrester Estate team and Phil Weller tour Ladybird Farm

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Forging strong relationships
In mid-January 2022, Dudutech hosted Phil Weller from Dudutech Zimbabwe and his customers, Chris and Ferdinand from Forrester Estate for a tour of Ladybird Farm in Naivasha, Kenya.

The trip aimed to provide a deeper understanding of the products and capabilities directly to the farmers. The group took part in a special guided backstage tour of Dudutech’s state-of-the-art facility including the outdoor and indoor insectaries, fungal and nematode production and quality control facilities.

Phil has been working with the Forrester Estate team for over 6 years to deliver sustainable crop protection to their 2,300 Ha of crops including peas, tobacco, blueberries, cereals, grasses and citrus.

“Our Dudutech trip was an eye-opener,” said Ferdinand (Forrester Estate), “it is truly amazing what growth the Dudutech team achieved with their vision, driven research and bold management. Ecological sustainability is the foundation of economic sustainability… There is much more we need to do: IPM, compost, worm farming, activated charcoal, green manure and crop rotation.”

To learn more about Dudutech in Zimbabwe, contact Phil:

Phil Weller
Zimbabwe Authorised Reseller
phil.weller@dudutech.com