Dec 22, 2015
Engage Agro’s Desikote an approved coating for strawberries

The Governing Board of the Southwest Florida Water Management District recently approved the use of polymer coating agents for a pilot project to protect crops during a freeze event. According to a news release, the district will provide 75 percent cost share funding for qualified growers who use polymer coating agents instead of water for freeze protection.

Engage Agro USA reports Desikote, a Terpene Polymer / coating agent, is one such product option which provides a clear protective film on a plant’s surface that reduces transpiration and moisture loss, and reduces the effects of cold and frost events.

An experiment was conducted by Bielinski M. Santos and Ixchel M. Hernandez over two seasons (2011-12 and 2012-13) in Florida on strawberry plants. The goal was to evaluate additional methods of frost control, including row covers (light and heavy weight), as well as a foliar application of Desikote.

“Plots protected with light-weight row covers with hoops, heavy-weight row covers without hoops, and those treated with Desikote obtained the highest early marketable fruit count and weight. Sprinklers delivering 4.5 gal/min resulted in the lowest fruit count and weight,” Santos said.

“Applying Desikote for frost protection can have a significant impact for strawberry growers. Growers can benefit from reduced energy and water costs, minimized disease spreading and they can harvest more berries instead of throwing them on the ground,” said Dave Miller, Southeast Regional Manager for Engage Agro USA.

Growers within a clearly defined mapped out area (provided by the district), will need to show a water savings and they have to be in compliance with regulations (meter installed etc.) in order to qualify. The reimbursement pilot project is only available in a specific area of stressed water resources referred to by the District as the Dover/Plant City Water Use Caution Area.

Growers must register and be approved by the district prior to a freeze event occurring in order to qualify for reimbursement.

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