Ball FloraPlant Farms are neonic-free facilities
By Dave Harrison
Oct. 14, 2015, West Chicago, IL – Ball FloraPlant’s offshore cuttings farms did not use neonicotinoid-based pest management chemicals during its spring crop production last shipping season, and will continue to be neonic-free this year.
Instead, the company and its greenhouse managers have relied on alternative means to supply insect- free cuttings to its global customer base.
“Our farms moved toward eliminating neonicotinoid chemicals a few seasons ago, before it became a more mainstream issue,” says Aart De Leeuw, production director for Ball FloraPlant. “Our reasons were three-fold: buildup of pest resistance, overall chemical expense and to reduce any toxic effects to the environment.”
The offshore Ball FloraPlant facilities that have eliminated neonics in production are Floricultura (Guatemala) and Las Limas (Nicaragua).
Ball FloraPlant partner Selecta (Uganda and Kenya) is also neonic free. The dedicated scouting teams at these farms work closely with management and they have one goal: Delivering clean, quality cuttings.
“It’s all about reliability. There’s only one good number: Zero,” says De Leeuw, about the Ball FloraPlant production approach. “By starting clean – with clean and clear build-up material – we are able to adhere to a zero tolerance rule. Any insect sightings are dealt with immediately to remove old leaves – and possible eggs – from the stock, without the need for neonic chemicals.”
By developing new insect management techniques, Ball FloraPlant is able to serve all North American, European and worldwide greenhouse growers.
Enhanced scouting and control measures advance the knowledge and application of best practices in unrooted cutting production in its farms.
The state-of-the-art design of Ball FloraPlant’s Las Limas greenhouses features physical barriers, keeping insects out from the beginning.
Additionally, Ball FloraPlant is supporting AmericanHort in its scientific research on pollinators and industry best practices. Ball FloraPlant has achieved and maintains its MPS-A environmental certification with regard to crop protection agents, fertilizers, energy use and waste.
Its commitment to remaining neonic free addresses the needs of its customers, as well as the informed consumer looking to make an environmentally friendly selection at retail.
For more information about Ball FloraPlant, and particularly its state-of-the-art farm Las Limas, visit www.ballfloraplant.com.