Like his father before him, French farmer Jerome Durand grows potatoes on a small farm of 15-16 hecatares, or less than 40 acres, located on the tidal island of Noirmoutier in the Bay of Biscay. The greatest problem Durand faces is mildew, due to the warm coastal climate.
“We couldn’t get it under control as much as we liked,” he says. “We were looking for a far more advanced treatment.”
Durand was also concerned about the environmental impact of any treatment, however. Through the precision agricultures experts at Vantage Atlantique Mediterranee he learned of one their new partners, MagGrow.
“The agricultural world is being disrupted by many things,” says Vantage representative Jeremy Gorget. “In terms of crop protection, there is an environmental aspect that really comes into play. MagGrow is aware of that.”
Vantage recommended that Durand join a field trial for a promising new spray treatment being developed in France by MagGrow. The breakthrough technology provided an alternative to conventional spraying while optimizing treatment in a perfect strategy for crop protection.
“We agreed to the trial because it didn’t require us to make any changes to our existing sprayer,” says Durand. “We decided to test the MagGrow system to see if we could reduce the number of spray applications and reduce the dosage for crop protection.”
Sure enough, Durand quickly saw results. The first improvement was drift, which can be especially difficult for him to control thanks to unpredictable island winds.
“I apply treatments late in the evening using lights and blue light projectors that help you clearly see a spray on the crop,” says Durand. “Drift was reduced by 50%. It’s really a solution to this problem of spray quality.”
By implementing MagGrow’s technology on his existing sprayer, Durand found that not only could he limit the drift, he could also improve the quality of the droplets and the coverage of the crops.
“It’s very important for the users to be sure that the products they apply are 100% dedicated to the crop and that they have an optimum efficiency,” he explains. “We have plants with different foliage–some with low foliage, others that are developed. If we can optimize this penetration, it will allow us to reduce the number of passes and eventually reduce the dose used, thereby reducing the quantity of active ingredient per hectare, protecting the health of the people living near the area, and also preserving environmental and the water resources.”
Durand also found that the mildew impact was reduced by 70% on the areas treated with the MagGrow solution.
“It’s extremely important to have such significant results to support evolution of farming practices. It was easy to set up and quick to use. My goal is to carry out 90% of my treatments with biocontrol products within the next 5 years.”
He sees MagGrow as an essential partner in helping achieve his goals of maximum efficiency and environmental responsibility.
“It’s really important for a farmer to invest wisely. I think in the next 10 years, agriculture will evolve in line with what the customer wants using advanced technologies that will allow us to be better–to be sure that every treatment, every euro invested, is 100% optimized. With MagGrow we believe we have found something that meets all the criteria.”