The new 75,000-litre fermentation vessel commissioned this week at the company’s Littlehampton plant in West Sussex can hold more than eight-trillion beneficial nematodes.
Coming at a time when commercial growers, turf managers and gardeners are faced with a diminishing armoury of chemical controls, the increased production capacity will help to guarantee the availability of natural, safe and effective pest-control solutions.
It enables BASF to breed trillions of beneficial nematodes each year across six different species and get product onto the shelf without time delays or costs incurred with regulation and registration.
The Littlehampton plant is the world’s largest site for beneficial nematode production and currently the only one in the UK. BASF’s Nemaslug Natural Slug Killer is now of the country’s leading slug-control product.
"Nemaslug and Nemasys products are natural, highly effective and environmentally friendly, with no adverse effect to children, pets or wildlife," said BASF key country sales manager, biologicals and turf (Europe, Middle East and Africa), Mike Finney. "They occur naturally in our gardens and by harnessing and replicating nature we provide different species to control a wide range of different target pests."
The largest market for the nematodes is in ornamentals, particularly chrysanthemum production in Holland. Major sales in the UK market are for Nemaslug. BASF also produces Nemasys natural control products for chafer grubs, leatherjackets, fruit and vegetable protection, ants and vine weevils.
Each is based on a specific nematode species that naturally attacks the pest. BASF is now working on applications for forestry.