Washington State Grower Reduced Pest Control Costs Using Thermaculture
Walla Walla, WA USA – Washington State grower Shane McKibben purchased an AgroThermal Systems’ Thermaculture machine early in March with the goal to improve wine quality and was hopeful that he could use heat to reduce chemical applications on his 240 acre vineyard, Les Collines, located in Eastern Washington in Walla Walla. They began treatments shortly after bud break and treated every 7 days covering all of their 240 acres each week.
We were very happy with the early season control of pests especially thrips, mites and powdery mildew,” stated McKibben. “In total we decreased our pest control passes in half and might have done better had it not been for machine and tractor issues that prevented us from frequent enough treatments about mid-season.” McKibben and his viticulture consultant Rick Trumbull calculated that they saved about 75% in expense for each pass when Thermaculture replaced spray. “In addition, you fill up the propane tank and you get 8 hours of uninterrupted treatment with the AgroThermal machine. With sprays you have to continually return to the shop, mix up the solution and fill the tank, so there’s lots of wasted time mixing and back and forth,” continued McKibben. “It’s no surprise my employees really like the heat treatment machine since it was faster and easier than dealing with sprays.”
McKibben also expects to see further benefits from Thermaculture such as increased yields and better tasting wines. “It is also nice to have a machine available that could help us save some late season grapes in case we get rain in the fall.” McKibben estimates that based on the pest control savings he expects the Thermaculture machine will pay for itself in the first year and that any increase in wine quality or yields will be added value.
Marty Fischer, AgroThermal Systems’ Founder and CEO stated, “We congratulate Shane McKibben for his confidence in treating with Thermaculture for pest control. Our Company has patents that go back to 2003 for pest control and we have known for a long time that heat can control most pest and disease issues on wine grapes and other crops. Many growers, however, do not want to change their proven crop protection practices,” continued Fischer, “I think Shane’s innovative spirit will encourage others who are trying to make their farming practices more sustainable and environmentally friendly and they will improve their bottom line in the process.”
AgroThermal Systems (www.agrothermalsystems.com) is based in Walnut Creek California and is a dba of Lazo TPC Global, Inc. a California Corporation. AgroThermal has pioneered the use of Thermaculture as a means to increase yields, reduce pesticide needs and improve crop qualities. The company holds patents on Thermal Pest Control and has patents pending on Thermal Plant Treatment for agricultural crops.