The Department of Pesticide Regulation (DPR) has expanded the label for Bayer CropScience’s Velum One nematicide and fungicide to include bulb crops and sweet potatoes.

Jeff Baxter, a product manager for the company’s fruit and vegetable business, told Agri-Pulse this will meet a high demand for a good nematicide on sweet potatoes for a wide spectrum of nematicidal activity while also suppressing powdery mildew. For onion growers, it opens opportunities for tailored solutions in collaboration with Seminis seeds within Bayer’s vegetable seed business.

Velum One is already applied to tree nuts in California, with “huge advantages” for almonds, said Baxter. This has enabled a unique partnership with Netafim USA, the Israel-based precision irrigation system supplier. When new irrigation systems are installed, Netafim advisors notify Baxter and his colleagues, who then work with pest control advisors in recommending Velum One for the new plantings.

The drip irrigation system has increased almond yields by an average of 18% in trials. According to CDFA, nematodes impact as much as half of all almond acres. The two firms are touting the collaborative approach as a way for the Almond Board of California to meet its 2025 sustainability goals by minimizing pesticide applications as well as reducing water use by 20%.

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Baxter said new data has shown Velum One, in combination with the insecticide Movento, has bumped citrus yields 23% over untreated crops, since both have nematicidal properties.

“We have high expectations in some of these other crops that are using drip irrigation,” said Baxter.

He was relieved to secure the DPR authorization, after a long wait due in part to the pandemic nearly bringing the process “to a screeching halt.” It has also delayed any further additions to the label, since the department must first process current requests, “otherwise I might have to start the timetable all over again on everything,” he said.

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