Bee Vectoring Technologies International Inc. (the “Company” or “BVT”) (TSX VENTURE: BEE) is pleased to announce a key demonstration and replicated trial of its organic crop inoculation system to control the disease Sclerotinia on sunflowers. The demonstration is scheduled to take place in July and August 2016 at the Langdon Research Extension Centre of North Dakota State University (“NDSU”).
Sunflower production is a significant commercial crop in the US worth an estimated US$500 million with over 1.8 million acres of crops. Sclerotinia, an invasive disease which not only affects sunflowers but also soybeans and canola, is causing devastating losses. In 2002, in response to this issue, the U.S. Department of Agriculture founded the National Sclerotinia Initiative and continues to fund it each year with the objective being to discover a control for the disease. With no current method of treatment against Sclerotinia in sunflowers, the existing crop acreage of approximately 1.5 million acres in North and South Dakota is at risk.
The outcomes of the NDSU trials are expected to be announced in September or October 2016. BVT is working with Influential growers of sunflowers in both North and South Dakota and with positive demonstration results of the BVT system to control Sclerotinia, it is hoped that strong support can be accumulated by growers and state officials in sponsorship of advanced use of the BVT system.
BVT CEO Michael Collinson commented, “This is a significant opportunity for BVT. Based on prior results and testing, our system was able to deliver dramatic results in respect to pathogen control and yield increases in sunflowers, some of the best results we’ve seen with any crop. With 20 million acres of sunflowers grown in Europe and Turkey alone, these crops are undoubtedly a primary area of focus for the Company.”
Independent plant pathologist, Dr. Michael Wunch Ph.D., commented, “Sclerotinia or “head rot” is a primary disease affecting sunflowers. Currently there is no viable economic system to manage this serious problem. If the BVT system works it could be a possible solution for sunflower crops affected by Sclerotinia.”
BVT conducted previous trials on sunflowers with results being favourable in controlling Sclerotinia, producing higher yields, and furthermore, the BVT system is organic.
In addition to the NDSU trials, BVT is seeking trials with influential growers of sunflowers in North Dakota for demonstration purposes.
Additional trials are planned for sunflowers in Canada during the bloom periods in June and July 2016, results are expected to be available after harvest in September or October.
Sunflower trials are also being finalized in Serbia to commence during Summer 2016. Serbia has approximately 300,000 acres devoted to sunflower production.
Sclerotinia, also known as “white mold or head rot”, is a highly invasive disease found in a host of broad leaf crops. It is present in approximately one of every two fields and commonly results in substantial crop losses. In some cases, Sclerotinia can cause complete crop destruction and currently there is no chemical product able to provide protection against it in sunflowers.
Within sunflowers, the principle point of infection comes through the plants’ bloom which lasts for approximately 11 days. Due to the nature of the BVT system, inoculant is able to be delivered directly to each plant each day, via bees, during this key period of exposure. The mode of action of the BVT compound, BVT CR7, is spatial occupation, meaning the disease is prevented from entering the plant altogether. The BVT active ingredient, Clonostachys rosea, is an ISR which results in stronger more vigorous plants producing higher yields. Additionally, the BVT system does not lead to pathogen tolerance – which can render chemical inoculants ineffective over time – meaning the system has an opportunity to become a foundational program able to maintain effectiveness and sustainability, year after year.
BVT has developed and owns patented and patent-pending bee vectoring technology (consisting of a proprietary tray dispenser containing a unique carrier agent) that is designed to harmlessly utilize commercially reared bumblebees as natural delivery mechanisms for a variety of powdered mixtures comprised of organic compounds that inhibit or eliminate common crop diseases, while at the same time stimulating and enhancing the same crops. This unique and proprietary process facilitates a targeted delivery of crop controls using the simple process of bee pollination to replace traditional crop spraying, resulting in better yield, organic product and less impact on the environment without the use of water or disruptions to labour.
Additional information can be viewed at the Company’s website www.beevt.com.