Science Into Practice - Replacing formalin in daffodil dip

Stem nematode (Ditylenchus dipsaci) is potentially the most devastating pest of daffodil crops worldwide, but has been controlled for decades by hot-water treatment (HWT) of planting stocks with formalin added to the dip.

In 2008, the agricultural/horticultural approvals for formalin were revoked within the EU at short notice, and HDC Project BOF 61 was set up to find alternatives to formalin for HWT use.

Fusarium rots (base rot and neck rot caused by Fusarium oxysporum f.sp. narcissi) continue to cause concern to UK growers and the HWT dip often included a thiabendazole-based fungicide as well as formalin, a major component of managing Fusarium in daffodil crops. In 2008, this use of thiabendazole fungicides was restricted in terms of the maximum concentration and number of treatments per year so alternatives were also required.

As a result of initial tests in HDC Project BOF 61a, an iodophore-type biocide, FAM 30, was identified as a possible replacement for formalin, and a chlorothalonil-based fungicide, Bravo 500, as an alternative to thiabendazole-based products. To test these for crop-safety under commercial conditions, Project BOF 61b was set up for treatments in a range of cultivars.

The first year's results have showed that FAM 30 and Bravo 500 are effectively crop-safe. Further work will provide growers with full recommendations for the control of stem nematode and Fusarium rots. Growers should refer to the annual report for BOF 61b for tentative treatments, available at

Date for your diary

Tree Fruit Panel Meeting, 29 November, East Malling, Kent

Horticultural Development Company

For details on all HDC activity, visit

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