• WATCH out, your agrochemicals supplier could be watching your every move in a bid to catch you at the best time to secure a deal.
Novartis is equipping its 70-strong team of technical specialists, call centre staff, sales and marketing personnel with new £180,000 Customer Relationship Management software which collects information on the buying patterns, habits and product preferences of individual farmers.
"We will be using this new technology to keep track of their daily and seasonal work patterns, allowing us to call when it is most convenient to them," says Richard Leech of Novartis. "We will be able to offer the most appropriate products, with automatic, regular deliveries, if required."
• USING contractor applied Basamid (dazomet) to fumigate arable soils is a realistic alternative to threatened methyl-bromide fumigation, says supplier Horti-chem. But growers should use an approved contractor, it urges.
"Regardless of product choice, successful soil sterilisation relies on a number of key factors, far more than just the correct application rates," says joint managing director Peter Hingley. Accurate soil preparation, correct soil moisture and warm soil are all essential.
"Sometimes these requirements are not given due consideration by growers, therefore many are not reaping the full benefits of soil sterilisation."
Hortichem has developed a protocol which is to form the basis of best practice for its approved contractors.
• NEW company Oxford Natural Products hopes what it describes as its innovative standardisation technique will pave the way for more plant-based medicines.
About 25% of prescriptions are derived from plants, but the figure could be much higher if it were possible to standardise and validate the complex compounds involved, it says. *