The lure of pest-free apples and heat-resistant courgettes has helped boost sales at Plant Impact, the fertiliser and crop technology group, as it looks forward to increasing sales of its environmentally friendly BugOil treatment for pest control.

BugOil is made using oil extracts from wintergreen, marigold, rape and thyme to prevent crops from being infected by pests.

“Just imagine you’re growing an orchard full of apples, and on the last day you’re going to harvest it it gets infected with white flies,” said Peter Blezard, chief executive of Plant Impact.

“Tesco would say ‘we can’t take that’ and with most synthetics [pesticides] you can’t spray up to two weeks before harvest because of the harmful residue. So along comes BugOil and it cleans the whole crop up.

“It takes the pests out and it’s got residual activity and will keep the harvest clean all the way to the supermarket, but because it’s made from food grade oils, there’s no toxic residue.”

Other products sold by Plant Impact include Inca, used to improve heat tolerance in fruit and vegetables grown in greenhouses without leaching fertiliser into the soil.

For the full-year ending in March, the pre-tax loss widened by 34 per cent to £2.5m ($4m) on revenues that almost trebled from £284,853 to £829,616. The widening of the loss was caused by increased spending by Plant Impact on the development of its sales team.

Shares in Plant Impact closed down 8.4 per cent or 3½p at 38p on Monday.

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