Category: News
Date published: January 11, 2024

Advancing biological crop protection in outdoor crops in partnership with growers

Gain a deep understanding of growers’ challenges, develop a portfolio that meets their needs and demonstrate the value of our solutions in the field. With this mindset, Koppert Brazil is growing the adoption of biological crop solutions in agriculture. By partnering with growers, they are providing effective and viable alternatives to conventional pesticides amidst growing pesticide resistance and a lack of chemical options.

Brazil is one of the largest agricultural markets in the world and a major producer and exporter of grains, sugar, natural fibers and other commodities. As a result of the widespread and long-term use of pesticides and insecticides, resistance is on the rise and growers have access to fewer chemical solutions. Growers must therefore find new ways to protect their crops and safeguard their yields, all while keeping costs under control. Since the beginning, our team in Brazil has been focused on supporting growers in this process.

Agri focus 

As the Market Strategy and Commercial Agri Lead, Andre Francisco Cerignoni was closely involved in the expansion of Koppert's portfolio and presence in Brazil. “We have always been a unique subsidiary of Koppert,” says Andre. “That is because our focus has been on agriculture – on outdoor crops – since the beginning. Furthermore, we specialise in row crops, in agricultural commodities. The right solution at the right price is key for row crop operations.”

IPM programme 

To address growers’ challenges with regards to the effectiveness and availability of chemicals to control specific agricultural challenges and concerns about cost, the Koppert Brazil team developed an Integrated Pest Management (IPM) programme. “We evaluate the farmers’ operations and pest and disease control challenges and assess which of our biological solutions fit into their IPM programme. We also prove to the farmer that our solutions deliver a positive return on investment by protecting their yields. We often see that growers in Brazil are spraying more as a result of the diminishing effect and availability of chemicals, which increases the cost of production. As part of our IPM programme, we help establish a crop protection system that is both efficient and cost effective,” says Andre.

“I raise soybeans in the state of Mato Grosso. I started using the biological fungicide Trichodermil to control soil diseases. Looking at how effective this technology has been, we see biological products as the future. We decided to increase their use and implement additional products, such as Boveril against white flies and Metarril against burrower bugs. The biological portfolio as a whole is very appealing. If we use the technology properly and apply products in the right way, we will get good results,” says John Lehnen from Bonanza Farm in Mato Grosso, Brazil.

Challenges as the starting point 

"Here in Brazil, we are seeing a tremendous increase in the adoption of biological crop protection methods,” says Andre. “Last year, the market for biologicals grew by 50%, compared 17% for chemical solutions. We attribute our own success to our focus on the grower. Listening and understanding how they operate is so important. Growers in the north of the country have different needs than those in the south. The climate is different, the soil conditions are different, pests and diseases have different dynamics. Their challenges and needs have always been our starting point.”

Expanding to Europe and the US 

All over the world, growers are in search of solutions to their crop protection challenges. Andre: “We want to contribute to more sustainable agriculture everywhere. Currently, we are extending our grower-centric approach to Europe and the United States and leveraging our knowledge and experience to deliver solutions that benefit the grower and the environment.” Andre will join the Koppert team in the US. “We will be working with universities to evaluate growers’ top challenges in different states, tailoring our portfolio to their needs and conducting trials to determine the efficacy of our solutions in target crops and in a range of conditions. Our initial focus will be on corn and soybean, both major US commodities. It's the same mindset and same goal: to grow the adoption of biological crop protection methods and contribute to a sustainable future in agriculture by empowering growers.”