Biobest asked Rob about his relationship with the company and the importance of a good website. Based in the Netherlands, Gebroeders Valstar has two 5ha facilities – the main site in Maasland plus the Damsigt facility, located in Roosendaal. “We are the largest producer of Calathea in Europe and Biobest supplies us with our biological control agents,” explains Rob. “A few years ago we had a spider mite problem. Biobest recommended using the predatory mite Phytoseiulus in the cuttings department. It worked very well and since then we had relied on Biobest.”
Much more effective
Biological pest control is becoming increasingly important for Gebroeders Valstar, explains Rob. “We have fewer chemical agents at our disposal, plus there are additional restrictions imposed by the trade branch supplying large retailers. We are therefore increasingly looking for natural solutions for spider mite, thrips and mealybug.
“Stefan Bohté calls in every two weeks to work with our production team. It was his recommendation to use the food supplement NutrimiteTM, which has helped the predatory mite A. swirskii become more effective. As a result we have been able to retain the species Calathea zebrina, which is highly commercially successful.”
In order to optimise control of pest outbreaks, when completing the survey Rob stressed the importance of being able to quickly find practical information about pests and biological control agents. “I want to be able to find immediate answers. For example, to answer questions about the side effects of different chemical agents, the amount of useful biological control agents that I need to use per m2 or how pests develop - that is what I want the website to deliver.”
The renewed website www.biobestgroup.com provides exactly that with ‘tailored advice’. By choosing a crop, a pest, a product − or a combination of them − visitors to the site can now locate the information in fewer clicks. Clear photos help with pest recognition while videos explain how customers should apply beneficials and other products.
This is good news for Rob. “Of course, I can always turn to my Biobest advisor. However, if he is busy, I can check it myself. Yes, the new iPad comes in very handy for that.”