Things were different this year.
“We actually had much greater disease in our Serenade treatments than we saw in the untreated control,” she says.
The conflicting results could be the result of a change in the product’s performance or simply the idiosyncrasies of biological fungicides.
“Conditions which may or may not favor disease can also favor or detract from the efficacy of the biological control,” Gevens says.
Because of the favorable results of the 2010 tests, Gevens plans to evaluate Serenade Soil again this coming season.
AgraQuest continues to have big plans for Serenade Soil.
“We’re going to be expanding our label as we gather enough data to be able to properly guide the growers on rates,” Manker says.
The nuts and bolts behind Serenade Soil
Serenade Soil is a biological fungicide that builds a disease protection zone around the seed, says its manufacturer, Davis, Calif.- based AgraQuest Inc. as the seedling grows, the beneficial bacteria in the product continue to grow, attaching themselves to the plant roots, expanding the disease-protection zone.
The results are higher-yielding fields and better quality fruits and vegetables, the company says.
Serenade Soil has a one-two punch that traditional chemical fungicides lack, says Denise Manker, vice president of global product development for AgraQuest.
It has the immediate effect of drenching the soil. Then the bacteria colonize the plant roots as the plant continues to grow.
It also has a multi-site mode of action that can fight pathogens resistant to other fungicides, she says.
The product can be applied in-furrow at planting, drenched in-furrow with seed pieces, put in with fertilizers or run through chemigation.
The goal, Manker says, is to “get it to the zone where the roots are.”