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June 15 2020, 09:32 GROPRO

Grapes producers have bio solution against "unseen enemy"

Grapes are one of the widest spread fruit crops; it could be produced in many parts of the world. It is a good option for farmers to support demand for locally grown agricultural products and also grapes are good products for exports. Grapes production could have several purposes – for wine production, for risings, for juice, and for fresh consumption (table grapes). There is an interesting trend - the role and consumption of table grapes globally are increasing last decade.


Most parts of table grapes consumed in the United States are grown in California and South America (Peru). California is the leading grape-producing state in the USA due to favorable climate conditions. The USDA, National Agricultural Statistics Service (NASS) collects grape production data from 13 main producing states: Arkansas, California, Georgia, Michigan, Missouri, New York, North Carolina, Ohio, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Texas, Virginia, and Washington. According to USDA, U.S. total grapes production in 2019 was 6,8 mln. tons, it's less than in 2018 or 2017 (7,6 and 7,4 mln. tons accordingly). The main reason – decrease in areas under vineyards, its already less than 1 mln acres. As for the table grapes – its production mostly focused in California and its quite stable – about 1,2 mln. tons every year. We could see from USDA data that California has increased areas for table grapes production in 2017-2019 but yields are unstable and vary depending upon many factors, including weather and plant disease.

The majority of US grapes producers are large-scale companies, focused on supplying to foreign markets or local supermarket chains. Small farmers who produce grapes oriented mostly on local farmers' markets or internet sales. High quality of berries (proper size, taste, color as well as long shelf life) – is the key competitive advantage of table grapes production. Grapes producing is a labor-intensive business, with much of the work is by hand. Commercial table grape producers aim to produce high-quality grapes, using innovations and new agricultural technologies. But it's not always easy to have a good quality of grapes as some vine disease could be an obstacle to that.

One of the main vine issues are nematodes - the unseen enemy of the vine plant. They are microscopic, unregimented roundworms that feed on roots in the soil. All vineyards, no matter the soil or location, have nematodes, and many vineyards have revenue losses due to the severity of the nematodes.

Why nematodes are so dangerous for vines? They pose a huge risk as they cause direct and indirect damage to the crop. Parasitic nematode feed on the vines root zone leading to a reduction in root mass, inability to absorb nutrients, death of plant tissue, plus more. Nematodes can also destroy a vineyard through vectoring of viruses or increasing the severity of plant diseases. The primary nematode vectors are Pythium, Fusarium, Rhizoctonia, and Phytophthora.

The main danger is that some growers don't recognize the effects of nematodes, they affect each producer's bottom line every day. Nematodes cause a big decrease in the quality and quantity of grape crop - vineyards that have nematodes could have smaller berries size, reduced color, less Brix content, slower production of Brix, increased disease pressure in the plant, and overall a reduction in yield. All of these hurt the growers' ROI and the growers' ability to improve the vineyard. According to different sources, every year nematodes cause about 12-14% of losses to vineyards globally, it’s more than 20 billion USD!

Using chemical crop protection is not the best option as more and more vineyards strive to meet the highest food security and ecology standards. That's why biopesticides could be the best industry solution against nematodes. GROPRO has an effective solution to control nematodes with proven effect on vineyard – biological crop protection product Vigilance. It is a highly effective nematicide, manufactured using natural active ingredient Geraniol (extracted from the essential oil). Vigilance causes death, reduction in feeding, destruction of eggs, and a decline in populations of nematodes, it can be applied in drip, sprinkler, flood, and banded on the vineyard. Over the past few years, GROPRO has tested Vigilance in multiple countries and soil types. During these development and research trials, it has been proven to see an increase in root mass, higher yields, better berries quality, and improved plant health.

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