Agragene Announces Expanded Sentinel™ Program with Peerbolt Crop Management to Help Farmers Monitor & Control Devastating Fruit Fly

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Spotted wing drosophila flies have caused $700M+ in US fruit damage and populations are on the upswing

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Agragene Expands Program to Help Farmers Control Fruit Fly

Agragene, Inc., a biotechnology company focused on suppressing invasive crop pests using biological insect control technology, announced today that it has expanded its SentinelTM program to help growers monitor spotted wing drosophila (SWD) populations year-round by trapping in natural border habitats surrounding agricultural fields.

Agragene is assisting growers in observing where SWD take refuge, feed and breed while tracking how their relative populations shift over time. Agragene has hired Peerbolt Crop Management (PCM) to provide this service to all interested growers. The Agragene Regional SWD Report is published in the Smart Fruit Update newsletter provided by the Northwest Berry Foundation on a weekly or bi-weekly basis. Growers can sign-up for free at Growers - Agragene to obtain comprehensive SWD reports including insights from Agragene’s entomologists and the PCM team.

The announcement comes as many fruit growers reported their toughest season yet combatting the hardy and damaging SWD, which arrived in the U.S. in 2008. SWD feed on ripening fruit causing extensive economic injury. Agragene’s technologies target SWD with a biocontrol platform to help growers monitor and more naturally manage the pest.

“Given the explosion of this fly population, we are pleased with the strong demand and positive feedback from growers on our initial trap reports throughout Oregon’s Northern Willamette Valley,” said Clyde Shores, Agragene Chief Business Officer. “We now service more areas in central and southern Oregon and will expand to additional regions in Oregon, Washington and California to assist as many growers as possible."

“We’ve been partnering with fruit growers to manage SWD since it showed up in the Pacific Northwest in 2009 and have developed a comprehensive data collection and reporting system. Now, with Agragene’s expertise and resources supporting this greatly expanded monitoring program we can give growers the field-by-field information they need to make more precise, effective and data-driven decisions about SWD control,” said Tom Peerbolt, Co-founder of PCM and Director at The Northwest Berry Foundation.

About Agragene
Agragene is a biotechnology company focused on suppressing invasive crop pests using biological insect control technology. Agragene is committed to working with growers to establish new, more effective integrated pest management (IPM) solutions. In addition to the SentinelTM insect monitoring service, Agragene is commercializing sustainable Biocontrol-as-a-Service using biological crop pest control agents that are non-polluting and thus environmentally safe and acceptable. Biocontrol reduces the use of environmentally unsafe chemicals. This encourages a more natural ecological balance providing a safe harbor for beneficial insects, such as bees and ladybugs. Insecticide use is decreased which enhances the effectiveness of IPM. Agragene has initially focused the platform on SWD and plans to expand to other insect crop pests in the future.

About Peerbolt Crop Management
Peerbolt Crop Management
Peerbolt Crop Management (PCM) began in 1992. Since its inception, PCM’s goal has been to facilitate the sustainable production of horticultural crops in the Northwest through IPM (Integrated Pest Management) based field services, on-farm research, consulting and information dissemination. For 28 years, we have closely collaborated with growers, researchers, industry members and government agencies, attaining a unique industry perspective and promoting sustainable production methods.

About Northwest Berry Foundation
Northwest Berry Foundation (nwberryfoundation.org)
The Northwest Berry Foundation exists to strengthen the NW berry industry through on-farm research, grower education and information sharing, and reducing food waste. The Small Fruit Update is a weekly resource for the Northwest berry industry. It features regional crop reports, industry news, pest management, research and industry events. The Small Fruit Update is free to all readers, made possible by the dedicated sponsorships from regional fruit commissions and councils across the Northwest and North America.

Contact:
Agragene
Clyde Shores
clydeshores@agragene.com
760.707.7126

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Robb Leer
Leer Communication & Consultants
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