DADS, a natural biostimulant solution for the control of white rot in onions, garlic and leeks, has been approved by the California Department of Pesticide Regulation.

The biostimulant is manufactured by Aceto Agricultural Chemical Co., a leading global distributor of niche agricultural products. Britz Fertilizers Inc., is the exclusive distributor of the product.

White rot is a widespread disease that currently threatens the viability of the garlic and onion industries.

According to Robert Ehn, head of the California Garlic and Onion Research Advisory Board, 14,000 acres have been infected with the white rot organism. In California, white rot already has disrupted production on more than 13,000 acres of prime farm land in the San Joaquin Valley counties of Kern, Kings and Fresno.

In the Santa Clara-Gilroy area — known as the “Garlic Capital of the World” — less than 500 acres remain under cultivation due to white rot.

DADS works by mimicking the presence of an Allium crop, which in turn stimulates the germination of white rot spores (sclerotia). By “tricking” the white rot into germinating in the absence of the Allium crop, the spores perish from starvation or are severely weakened.

DADS is applied six months prior to the planting of an Allium crop, by deep shank injection to any field that shows evidence of a white rot problem. It is used as a preventative control, in conjunction with crop rotations and other crop protection products. DADS can either be applied in a single or split (spring and fall) application.

Mike Davis, University of California, Davis plant pathologist said “Recent research trials show that DADS eliminated 95 percent of the sclerotia that causes white rot. I encourage onion and garlic growers to use DADS as part of an overall white rot control program to contain the spread and reclaim contaminated fields.”

According to Ehn, there appear to be no side effects from the treatment, other than the “garlicky smell.” He states, “As white rot spreads, more and more acreage is being forced out of production. This project is of critical importance, given the pressures on our industry.”

DADS is currently available in limited quantities from Britz Fertilizers Inc. Peter Niboli, sales manager for Britz says, “For growers, processors and fresh marketers alike, DADS finally provides a management tool for the control of white rot. However it will take the entire industry working together to make it successful.”

For additional information, Britz can be reached at Britz Fertilizers, Inc., 3265 West Figarden Dr., P.O. Box 60011, Fresno, Calif., 93794. The telephone number is 1-559-448-8000 and the Web site is www.britzinc.com.