Bee Vectoring Technologies gains foothold in US sunflower market

Bee Vectoring Technologies International (BVT) has secured its first revenue commitments with US sunflower growers and has successfully expanded into other activities within this crop, including demonstration and research trials. This marks significant progress in penetrating the US$470 million sunflower market, the company said in a recent press statement.

BVT uses commercially-reared bees to deliver sustainable and effective crop control. Their patented bee-vectoring technology is pioneering a major agricultural innovation, providing the foundation for comprehensive, stackable and highly targeted pest and disease management solutions. Essentially, BVT’s solution harnesses the power of nature’s best workers, helping growers improve crop quality with a significant decrease in the use of chemicals.

“What BVT has accomplished in the first half of 2021 has put us on a fast-track for accelerating growth, all due to our focus on diversifying the company’s revenue mix,” said Ashish Malik, CEO of BVT. “In addition to making inroads into the sunflower market with first-time revenues, we accelerated market penetration in the berry and almond markets, kick-starting California and New Jersey with initial trials, and securing revenues in the US Southeast, Midwest and Pacific Northwest.

“These milestones ensure a diverse revenue base for continued growth. They also show that our product solution is gaining traction with new American growers and that we have excellent customer retention. With our success in multiple crops, and as we continue to widen the geography of our sales reach, we are strengthening our foothold in the US which will expedite our business expansion.”

Ian Collinson, Sales Manager at BVT, said: “BVT’s first revenue commitments with sunflower growers in the US Midwest are for commercial pilots of BVT’s natural precision agriculture system on portions of their crop fields. We have also expanded our market reach by making inroads into a second major growing region for sunflowers, with the first US Pacific Coast based demonstration trial for this crop now being conducted in two locations with a global sunflower seed producer.”

“Successfully getting to initial revenue in the sunflower market is the result of BVT’s hard work and investment in conducting sunflower trials in the US Midwest, working closely with key university researchers in the crop who confirmed the potential of our product,” said Collinson.

This entry into the sunflower market is based on the successful first year results of the multi-year North Dakota State University (NDSU) trials of BVT’s biological fungicide, CR-7. Funded by the North Dakota Department of Agriculture and approved by the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA), the trials are run by NDSU in cooperation with BVT. The trials provide the critical data points needed to sell in the sunflower market, where 1.3 million acres are harvested annually in America alone.

rial results proved that the system is effective and efficient for sunflower growers to use for disease control and improve yields. The results validated the technology, quantified hive distribution needed to achieve satisfactory Sclerotinia head rot control (in both disease incidence and severity), and measured increased yield results and reduced sclerotia contamination. Data collected in the first year has also enabled BVT to identify the segments of the sunflower industry that have the greatest potential for the Company’s system: seed production and higher-value contracted oil and confectionary production.

“Sclerotinia head rot is a major challenge for sunflower producers and has been identified as a high priority by the National Sunflower Association,” said Sherri Tedford, Laboratory and Field Testing Manager at BVT. “First year trial data from two sites indicate BVT reduced incidence and severity of Sclerotinia head rot by up to 62% over the control plots and increased yield by about 15%. BVT-treated sunflowers also have less sclerotia contamination (down from 6.1 and 7.4 % in the control plots to 3.1 and 3.3 % in the BVT-treated plots), well below the 4% maximum level allowed for processing seeds into oil for human consumption. This is important for growers, as seeds for human consumption can be sold for a higher price than seeds for other purposes, such as animal feed.”

BVT will continue the state-funded trials through the next two growing seasons, starting this August, to further refine recommendations for hive/dispenser numbers and placements, and further strengthen the BVT value proposition and ROI for growers. Originally approved for two years, these state-funded trials have just been extended for an additional third year.

“The disease management practices data from the NDSU trials won’t just help producers in North Dakota, but those in neighbouring states (Minnesota, Montana, and South Dakota) and provinces (Manitoba and Saskatchewan) as well,” said Malik. “And with minor adjustments, they will be applicable to producers in other parts of the world, increasing our potential scale to drive sustained growth through revenue diversity.”