A new insecticide, Mainspring, is being introduced to the UK’s ornamental horticulture market.
ICL Professional Horticulture is marketing and distributing this broad-spectrum insecticide following its official launch on October 12 (2022) at Syngenta’s Jealott’s Hill International Research Centre near Bracknell in Berkshire.
The event saw growers from some of the UK’s most renowned ornamental horticulture nurseries – including Newey, Farplants, and Hills – joined by leading horticulture product distributors such as BHGS.
Delegates listened to a series of presentations on the new product by representatives from ICL and Syngenta Professional Solutions, which has developed Mainspring.
Marcel Hubers, Syngenta’s technical manager, ornamentals and garden controls EAME, informed the audience that Mainspring’s label is for the control (on protected ornamentals) of western flower thrips (Frankliniella occidentalis) and two types of caterpillars: golden twin-spot moth/tomato looper (Chrysodeixis chalcites) and beet armyworm/small mottled willow moth (Spodoptera exigua).
He said: “This is a very interesting and unique insecticide product for ornamentals.” He noted that the insecticide is a translaminar product that can be improved with the use of the right adjuvant.
“Local movement is limited, [its] mainly from top to bottom [of the leaf], so application technology is very much key,” he said. Marcel added that this broad-spectrum product fits well into growers’ integrated pest management (IPM) programmes.
“Although it’s a broad-spectrum product, for most of the beneficials we are using in ornamentals its completely safe” he reassured growers.
Marcel explained that Mainspring’s active ingredient (AI), cyantraniliprole, affects the insects’ muscles and nerves, causing the pests to stop feeding quickly after ingestion.
Syngenta’s technical manager, Sean Loakes, noted that growers may continue to see live pests a few days after a successful application. This because it takes a few days before the pests die after ingesting this nerve-acting product. “But the damage control is done within a few mintues,” he said.
Sean also emphasised that the product (which can be used twice per crop cycle) is most effective when it is applied when the pests are in their first or second instar. “The earlier you can target an infestation the better the efficacy is going to be – you are going to get that control.”
Marcel added that, for thrips control, growers always need to mix the product with liquid sugar.
Sam Rivers, ICl’s technical manager for controls, emphasised that ICL will now be busily training its technical sales team on how growers can get the most out of this new product –and make sure it’s used correctly.
He said: “The chemical portfolio we have in this country is really dwindling, and so Mainspring can be a really crucial product for growers’ IPM toolbox.”
Daniel Lightfoot, Syngenta Professional Solutions’ commercial head for north-west Europe, encouraged growers to visit Syngenta’s dedicated advice hub, on syngentaornamentals.co.uk, for best use advice. He noted that other handy tips on topics such as disease management, and sustainability in horticulture, can also be found on this online hub.
Daniel reminded the audience of the gruelling process Syngenta goes through before a crop protection product like Mainspring is released onto the marketplace. He noted, for example, that it takes more than a decade of research and some $300m to find a new product.
Delegates were given an insight into this meticulous research process when they were given a tour around the Jealott’s Hill site. This included a visit to the Discovery Biology area. There, potential new active ingredients, including insecticides, are screened and – if they are deemed worthy of further investigation – initially tested on either insects, weeds or fungi.
Visitors were also shown the area where crop protection products are developed into a usable formulation with the help of ARTEMIS (Automated Robot to Evaluate Millions of Interesting Solutions). The tour also saw the group shown around the biokentics area of the site. Growers learned that biokentics is the study of the processes that occur after contact between the AI and the insect and/or plant. For example, they were shown Syngenta’s rain tower, which simulates rainfall to test an AI’s rainfastness.