Field trials show effectiveness of biocontrol against chemicals

Biotalys has revealed the initial results of its latest field trials for its first biocontrol, Evoca*. Throughout 2022, Biotalys conducted more than 160 in-depth field trials in partnership with industry players like Biobest and Beck Ag across a wider variety of crops to support its product positioning in both the European Union and the United States.

"As in previous years, the 2022 field trials showed excellent results for the use of Evoca against Botrytis in grapes," the Byotalis team says. "Both the original Evoca and an updated formulation consistently met or exceeded a leading chemical fungicide and biological solution against Botrytis – further demonstrating the product's efficacy and reliability in overcoming fungal diseases that can decimate yields if left unchecked." 

The figure below shows a comparison between a chemicals-only program and a rotation program under which Evoca is used in grapes at flowering instead of a chemical fungicide. 

"In grapes, Evoca stood out as a true replacer for standard chemical applications during the critical flowering phase in integrated pest management (IPM) programs, protecting against Botrytis across expansive trials throughout the United States and Europe. Vinification trials also continued to show no impact on wine quality and taste with Evoca."

"Our field trial results have proven that Biotalys' first biocontrol product Evoca can bridge the gap between the performance and convenience of chemical solutions and the safety and sustainability profiles of biological solutions for produce growers," commented Lacey Cole, Biotalys' Head of Business Development and Marketing in the Americas. "We're working closely with industry leaders like Biobest and Beck Ag to determine the best ways and times to work new, safer, more sustainable crop protection solutions like Evoca into growers' established IPM programs."

Richard Bettison, CEO of Beck Ag, said: "We are excited to collaborate with Biotalys in preparing for the launch of Evoca in the U.S. by enabling execution excellence and maximizing grower benefits from this novel technology. Beck Ag will execute prelaunch activities that ensure the optimal customer experience with Evoca by focusing on gathering insights from trial users, mapping the customer journey, aggregating and assessing customer and performance data, and refining the overall launch plan."

Biotalys also tested Evoca in other high-value fruits and vegetables. Key takeaways by crop type include:

  • Cucumbers – Across trials in Europe, Evoca demonstrated protection against powdery mildew, comparable to the existing chemical solution and another proven biological solution. While many existing chemical solutions are facing disease resistance, Evoca offers growers a new mode of action and provides a clear benefit as it does not leave chemical residues on the crop.
  • Strawberries – Evoca performed similarly to other biologicals against Botrytis fruit rot, allowing for the use of the product in IPM rotations in warm spring climates. Further field tests are underway to determine the optimal frequency, timing, and application rotation to expand to other climate scenarios and regions.
  • Tomatoes – Despite high disease pressure during trials, adding Evoca to the traditional chemical protection program demonstrated comparable efficacy against powdery mildew to a chemicals-only program. Growers will therefore be able to reduce the chemical residue on tomatoes by adding Evoca to their rotation program.
  • Blueberries – Biotalys also tested Evoca for the first time in blueberries, a high-value crop for which demand is growing globally. Disease pressure in the field trials was too low to demonstrate efficacy, so further field trials will be conducted in this crop to test performance.

Luc Maertens, COO of Biotalys, commented: "It is time to embrace a fully integrated approach to sustainable agriculture that takes into account not only which crop protection solutions to use, but also how much, when, and on which plants to avoid any negative impact on the surrounding plants or environment while securing high yields. Through our comprehensive field trial assessment with Evoca, our first protein-based biofungicide is paving the way for an entire line of next-generation biocontrols that will provide the winning combination of safety and efficacy."

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