With the rising challenge of chemical resistances and the increasing restrictions on chemical pesticides in agriculture, growers are forced to find new solutions to fill gaps in their crop protection strategies. In horticulture biological fungicides and pesticides have already proven to be effective in bridging many of these gaps. Food and safety authorities are now quickly catching up in agriculture, by extending the registration of biocontrol methods for outdoor crops.
Advantages biological crop protection
Biological pesticides and fungicides offer many benefits for growers. “They leave no residue and require no preharvest interval. These benefits are offering growers more control when it comes to harvest timing and sales channels. Additionally, pests do not develop resistance to biological pesticides and fungicides” says Paolo Banzato, Product Manager at Koppert.
Fitting biocontrol methods into IPM (Integrated Pest Management) systems
It is important that growers can easily integrate biocontrol methods into their Integrated Pest Management (IPM) strategy. Paolo: “We want to make it as easy as possible for growers to adopt biocontrol methods, so we work hard to make our products compatible with their current application equipment and processes. We inform growers of any potential compatibility issues and supply solutions. Products that cannot be tank mixed, can often still be applied separately a few days apart.”
Expanding biocontrol solutions for outdoor use
“Biological fungicides are completely natural,” explains Paolo Banzato. “The active ingredients are microscopic organisms, such as beneficial fungi and bacteria, that help control pests and soil diseases. The registration process for these biocontrol methods is lengthy, even though they are demonstrably effective and safe. We have successfully registered a wide range of biological pesticides and fungicides for indoor use. Now we are working hard to extend more and more registrations to outdoor crops, such as onion, potato, corn and lettuce.”
Biological pesticides and fungicides will eventually help minimise or even eliminate growers’ reliance on chemical products and contribute to more sustainable agriculture.
In addition to our registration efforts, we also continue to extend our product portfolio, optimise our formulations to extend their shelf life and to make them easier to store and use. Our vision is to ultimately develop a systems approach for the control of all major pests and diseases in outdoor crops.”