By Leonardo Gottems, Reporter for AgroPages
The Brazilian company, ISCA, entered the Argentine grapevine pest control market by launching a technology that makes it possible to aerially apply semi-chemicals and pheromones with airplanes and drones. The target is European grapevine moth ( Lobesia botrana), which can be eliminated without harming the environment.
European grapevine moth is one of the main pests that attack the production of grapes in Mendoza, an Argentine province with the largest area of vines in South America.
Leandro Mafra, President of ISCA Latam, said, “In this case, pheromone control is most suitable and very effective. However, the products normally used for this comes in small sachets, which need to be applied manually.”
“This leads to high costs, not only in terms of the product but also the applicator. In addition, the application has to be done simultaneously. If it takes several weeks to cover an area, it will not have the expected effectiveness, which further complicates the process,” he added.
The use of drones in the application process reduces costs and enables users to focus on specific regions and cover different areas simultaneously. “A drone alone can apply the product on hundreds of hectares per day, while a plane covers tens of thousands of hectares per day. In comparison, a person covers, manually, about four hectares per day,” Mafra explained.
According to him, the solution will now be taken to Chile and, in the future, to Europe, the main wine producing market in the world. “We have worked with the US government for several years in controlling beetles in forests, but this is another story. Our experience in Argentina was the first to cover commercial areas and became a differential for ISCA, which managed to cover large areas through the aerial application of our product. This is also a successful model that we are going to take to other countries,” he further added.
Mendoza is a large region covering about 200,000 hectares, but it has many small producers, leading to a lack of uniformity in pest control. “Major producers are ‘technified,’ but the small ones are not. Therefore, the big ones use pheromones, but if their neighbors cannot achieve the same control, it will not help, because there will be reinfestation,” Mafra said in conclusion.