Biorationals move into the field veg sector

26.01.2018

With over 50% of actives pending European registration being naturally derived, biorationals are growing in popularity outside of just the horticultural sector, explains Roma Gwynn, independent biocontrol specialist.

“Biorationals are now being used successfully in field vegetable and some arable crops, as more holistic pest-population management strategies are adopted.

“This presents an opportunity for UK growers, as knowledge on getting the most out of these products is shared. As demand increases, and greater quantities of biorationals are produced, they’ve also become a more cost-effective option.”

Case study

“For example, in Kenya, biorationals are now recognised as a true partner for conventional chemistry,” explains Roma.

“Growers have been mixing different Modes of Action for a lot longer than their UK counterparts. Not only to control pest levels, but to manage resistance, and improve crop… production generally, through integrated practices.

“One of the most important things that Kenyan growers have recognised is the importance of applying biorational products throughout the entire cropping cycle, rather than as a substitute to chemistry coming into harvest.

“Biorationals are now widely used in field vegetable crops such as beans, peas, baby carrots, baby leeks and baby broccoli, which are grown in an open field situation.

“They understand the strengths of biorationals and conventional chemistry at each crop stage, and have been experimenting with timings and water volumes.

“It’s all about implementing a true integrated system that balances the use of biorationals and conventional chemistry,” says Roma.

Top tips

Jan Mostert, Certis Europe biorational portfolio lead, provides some top tips for integrating biorationals into an IPM programme for field vegetable crops.

  • Review control programmes to see where biorational products can be utilised, and time applications to the right growth stage, in the appropriate climatic conditions and relevant to the activity level of the pest or disease population
  • Monitor pest and disease pressure in crops to measure the success of control programmes
  • Strike a careful balance between biorationals and conventional chemistry, understanding what impact they have on one another
  • Use biorationals to manage resistance - in general they are lower risk, but method and timing of application is key to get optimal performance
  • Learn from colleagues overseas and share your knowledge with others in the industry to help to improve our use of biorationals in field crops