Caltec Shares Innovative Pest Control Practices

A New Approach to Managing Vine Mealybug

By Hannah Young, Contributing Editor

Some innovative pest and disease control products, such as heat application to kill insects, are making their way to the market, according to Caltec.

California Ag Today spoke with Rudy Monnich, president of Caltec Ag, about some of the new ways California farmers are fighting pests.

caltec
Rudy Monnich with Caltec

“We have a product which is the diatomaceous earth that controls vine mealybugs and ants and mites in orchards and vineyards,” Monnich said, adding, “There is nothing more damaging than vine mealybug. In fact, Monterey County is forming a committee to be zero tolerant just for that insect pressure.”

The product is silica dioxide and will scarify the body of insects, dehydrate them, and in result kill them off in three or four days, Monnich explained.

However, the product is not a chemical, but a mineral, which significantly diminishes resistance issues.

“You don’t have the resistant issues build up,” Monnich said. “It’s also controlling thrip and whitefly in tomatoes.”

Caltec introduced the product this past spring.

Heat application can also be used by growers to combat insect problems.

“We are working with the Agrothermal people who have a machine that 300-degree to 400-degree temperatures will annihilate soft-bodied insects in tomatoes and powdery mildew in grapes,” Monnich said.

The application of heat kills the spores before signs of damage appear on the plant, Monnich explained.

This method of pest control is increasing the quality of wine, Monnich concluded.

Caltec Ag Keeps the Industry Up to Date

Caltec Ag is Busy with Research to Help Farmers

By Mikenzi Meyers, Associate Editor
Rudy Monnich

It’s no secret that technology is more advanced than it’s ever been, and the agriculture industry is no exception. Rudy Monnich, president of Caltec Ag, is helping to ensure that growers are provided with new and innovative technology to improve their crops.

Caltec Ag is a consulting and contract researching group based out of Modesto. They have been in business for about 64 years, and throughout their farming and research, they know firsthand that advanced technologies are key to progressive farming. Not only do they distribute products throughout the United States, but Monnich explained that this year, they are doing over 300 test blocks, mostly on crop protection materials that are all new and innovative.

Research between Caltec Ag and a company they work with led to the discovery of a new organic bacteria that Monnich described as “just phenomenal.”

He also highlighted the effectiveness and efficiency of drones that the company was able to observe in Japan. Not only was the drone able to spray specific locations of a field versus the entire thing, but it was more effective when it came to getting photographs and the data behind it.

“That’s what’s really important to the growers,” Monnich said.