Dr. Doug Gubler Sees "Promising" Powdery Mildew Control with Thermaculture™
Dateline: August 29, 2017-Napa, CA: "Our replicated trials on Chardonnay, Pinot Noir and Cabernet Sauvignon using heat alternated with fungicide produced the same clean results as a traditional chemical only protocol but reduced fungicide use by 50%," reported Dr. Douglas Gubler, one of the world's leading experts on Powdery Mildew.
Gubler worked with Foley Family Wines to create an IPM program that incorporates Thermaculture heat treatments with less frequent fungicide use. Gubler explained, "This is the first of two years of trials using a specific protocol, but it is clear the potential for heat treatments in combination with fungicides to control Powdery Mildew is very promising and one that growers might seriously consider."
In 2016, Foley Family Wines ran tests at both Sebastiani and Foley Johnson blocks in Sonoma and Napa to evaluate the many potential benefits of Agrothermal technology. According to Vineyard Manager, Mark Seifert, “We couldn’t be happier with the results we saw in 2016. Not only did we get higher fruit set and yields on our Pinot Noir, Chardonnay and Cabernet Sauvignon, but we cut our pest control costs significantly from what was normally used in our vineyards. Finding sustainable solutions like Thermaculture is very important to our mission at Foley.”
After the successful trials in 2016, Foley family Wines agreed to host Dr. Gubler's trials in 2017 to verify the Powdery Mildew control results they had experienced using Agrothermal Systems technology. In addition, Foley Family Wines expanded their own use of the technology by purchasing 3 machines early in 2017.
According to Gubler, "Powdery Mildew is becoming resistant to various fungicides. This resistance increases, especially in climates and years when a lot of treatments are required. The more you use the greater the resistance conundrum, combined with the global demands to reduce chemical use, creates the need for alternatives. Agrothermal certainly represents a very different non-chemical approach that provides short term control and has the potential of giving excellent powdery mildew control with fewer fungicide applications. The use of integrated programs such as this combination should reduce fungicide resistance issues and potentially, provide better overall control."
Marty Fischer, CEO of Agrothermal Systems confirmed that the Company has been conducting various insect and fungal disease experiments on wine grapes for several years. "We have known that heat can be used to disrupt most vine dwelling insects and reduce various fungal problems. In 2016, we created our Science Advisory Committee to help us work through the appropriate scientific evaluations," said Fischer. "We have seen impressive results under the scientific management of Doug Gubler, Richard Smart, and others. There are encouraging trial results from New Zealand, the UK and here in California. I just got back from Israel this week and the work being done there on specific insects and diseases is very positive as to the potential use of Thermaculture on a wide variety of vineyard and general agriculture needs."
Agrothermal Systems is based in Napa, California and is a DBA of Lazo TPC Global, Inc. a California Corporation. Agrothermal Systems has pioneered the use of Thermaculture treatment services as a sustainable, low cost technology to increase yields, reduce pesticide needs and improve crop qualities. The company holds patents on Thermal Pest Control and has patents pending on other aspects of the technology.