Sep 14, 2017Bee Vectoring Technologies plans system launch in Florida
Mississauga, Ontario-based Bee Vectoring Technologies (BVT) has provided details on its launch plan for the BVT System for the Florida market. The launch plan was developed together with Guardian Soil Solutions (Guardian), BVT’s new distributor for Florida.
The launch will center on the larger strawberry growers in Hillsborough County, Florida, the major winter strawberry growing region in the U.S. that produces around 20 million flats of strawberries on 11,000 acres every year.
According to BVT, the six biggest growers in the region, some of whom used the BVT System last year, represent about 50 percent while the top 10 growers are over 70 percent of the total acreage. Most of the large growers are also packers and shippers of strawberries, and work directly with major consumer brands, such as Driscoll’s or Wellpict. The objective of the launch in the first two months will be to confirm sales commitments from growers who did commercial demonstrations during 2017.
The company plans to also secure additional commercial demos to further grow the BVT System’s user base beyond its established targets. To secure commitments from strawberry growers, and to promote its system in the region for the upcoming season, BVT confirmed it has set up face to face meetings with several large growers throughout September and October and will be exhibiting at several grower trade shows in the next 60 days.
With the help of Guardian which has experience in the economics of strawberry production, the Company has quantified the value proposition of the BVT System and set standard pricing levels for the discussions with the growers. In a typical year, a Florida strawberry grower earns about U.S. $32,000 per acre over a four-month season.
“The value delivered by the BVT System has been proven to be at least U.S. $3,400 per acre over the season and includes savings through reductions in the use of chemical fungicides, while still controlling disease pressure, plus greater revenue potential through increase in overall yield of the crop,’ a news release stated.
In BVT’s business model, strawberry customers will be billed a monthly amount for each acre where the BVT System is being used during the crop cycle. The system, which includes a bumble bee hive with dispenser technology including a replaceable tray through which BVT’s proprietary plant beneficial microbe is delivered to crops using the bumble bees, will be priced as a complete “turnkey” system to simplify adoption by the growers.
The system will be setup, maintained, and disposed at the end of the season by Guardian, BVT’s distribution partner.
“The commercialization plan is on track and progressing exactly as is expected by a launch plan within the crop protection industry. September and October are important months for BVT to highlight the commercial benefit its System brings to growers, and to secure commitments for the coming season,”said Ashish Malik, CEO of BVT.
“The strawberry season starts in December, and growers will make decisions on which tools they will use to grow their crops more effectively during these next 70-80 days,” said Malik. “Face to face meetings with growers are important for agreeing on how the system will be used at their farming operations, and in discussing sales commitments. Our experience shows that when growers use and experience BVT benefits firsthand they are very eager to expand the use through their operations.
“In addition, tradeshow events are great ways to broaden the target base including in additional crops where we know BVT can add value,” B he said.
BVT and Guardian have identified additional opportunities on blueberries, watermelons and other cucurbit crops as well as tomatoes and peppers across Florida.
For example, several strawberry growers produce watermelons following strawberries (on the same acre), and watermelons which also require pollination with bees.
BVT said blueberries are becoming an important crop in Florida and a second high-value crop with several of the strawberry growers as well, delivering about $18,000 in revenue per acre.
Blueberries represent an $80 million and growing industry for Florida with over 4,000 planted acres. Several blueberry varieties require pollination, and are susceptible to various diseases including monilinia (or mummy berry) and botrytis, both of which are controlled by BVT’s proprietary biological control agent BVT-CR7, making the crop an excellent target opportunity for the BVT System.