As we enter a New Year the UK ornamentals industry continues to feel the impact of on-going losses of conventional actives. Due to demand for residue free produce, UK growers of protected edibles have had to confront these challenges some time ago. As a result integrated crop and pest management (ICM / IPM) strategies, including the use of biopesticides, are commonplace in tomato, cucumber and soft fruit crops.
We are now seeing the cross fertilization of ideas into the ornamentals sector including the adoption of biopesticides.
So what is a biopesticide? It is a plant protection product based on a biological agent. Biopesticides can be micro-organisms, botanical products (plant based) or semiochemicals such as pheromones. Like conventional chemical pesticides they are classified as fungicides, insecticides and herbicides and must be legally registered as a plant protection product.
Biopesticides usage is increasing due to greater product availability, 23 registered in the UK at the last count; increasing demand from retailers to reduce conventional pesticide usage and the Sustainable Use Directive (SUD) requiring growers to adopt integrated pest and cropping management (IPM/ICM) measures where possible.
Responding to this need for effective sustainable pest control options, ICL has formed a global partnership with Lallemand Plant Care, leaders in fungal and bacteria biopesticides, and recently launched the first product from this alliance - Prestop.
An exciting and strategic addition our expanding plant protection range, Prestop is set to play an extremely valuable role in helping control fungal diseases in ornamental and other high value crops in the future. It provides effective control of a wide variety of plant pathogens helping to control a number of damping-off, root and base rot diseases as well as aerial diseases in plants caused by pathogens including Botrytis, Pythium, Phytophthora, Rhizoctonia Fusarium and Didymella.
With multiple modes of action it has the potential to improve resistance management and application methods are flexible.
As with many new technologies, these products require a change in mind set. Biopesticides are generally protectants and not eradicants like traditional chemical controls, and product storage/shelf life, accuracy of application and timing are crucial for optimising control.
As well as plant protection products, Lallemand Plant Care specialises in biofertilization and biostimulation products improving plant productivity, vitality and health.
Both ICL and Lallemand Plant Care have healthy pipelines of innovative products designed to help UK growers optimise profitability by overcoming key nutrition, plant protection and water conservation challenges. With ever changing production and marketing methods, on going R&D is essential to meet challenges of tomorrow’s growers in a sustainable manner.