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Building a robust resistance programme

Resistance is one of the biggest issues facing the crop production sector, as key actives go through the re-registration process and in some cases, receive further restrictions or are lost altogether.

Resistance is one of the biggest issues facing the crop production sector, as key actives go through the re-registration process and in some cases, receive further restrictions or are lost altogether.

As a result, there becomes an over-reliance on the remaining approved active substances, and the risk of resistance can build, and with this so does the number of solutions available to growers.

This is a serious issue within protected environments, where the pest lifecycle can be much quicker. Some pests produce three to four, or even more, generations in a single season, and with each generation, the build-up of resistance can increase.

This quicker risk of resistance development, paired with the threat of new pests, has the potential to lead to a breakdown of entire crop protection strategies.

What can you do?

As an industry, we must work together, proactively to tackle resistance development and build up, head-on.

It’s only by using all the tools we have, in a responsible manner and starting right at the beginning at the season, that we can keep producing clean crops fit for market, while reducing the incidence of resistance.

Building a resistance programme

  • Start the season with a clean cropping environment – remove remnants of previous crops from the glasshouse and use a proven disinfectant
  • Any new crops should be placed in quarantine before being brought into the glasshouse, in order to maintain cleanliness throughout the year
  • Implement an Integrated Pest Management (IPM) programme, which begins with monitoring – use trapping for understanding existing pest levels
  • Use cultural controls to bolster the plant protection programme – activity such as pruning, ventilation and weeding can help reduce pest levels
  • Biorationals in general have a lower risk of resistance and are a crucial part of anti-resistance programmes, but method and timing of application is key to get optimal performance. For example, BotaniGard has proven efficacy for whitefly control, but is most effective when used in high humidity, at low UV levels and higher temperatures
  • Use conventional chemistry only as part of an IPM strategy and be aware of compatibilities with other control options

There is no silver bullet, but by drawing on a well-prepared IPM strategy and incorporating the latest thinking into your crop management, it’s possible to stay one step ahead of pests and diseases.