Biopesticides - Era of biocontrol

A recent meeting at the Farmers Club heard how biocontrol of crop pests, weeds and diseases is coming of age

"We are moving into an era of biology, after an era of chemistry for crop protection, because there are no more silver bullets for crop protection, and the limits on the usage of the existing chemistry is creating more selection pressure, so resistance to those products is increasing too," explained Dr Roma Gwynn of consultancy firm Rationale (www.biorationale.co.uk) and a Farmers Club member.

Biopesticides offer different modes of action and new ways of working. And agchem makers, seeing the writing on the wall for existing technology, are snapping up biopesticide manufacturers for price tags topping $1bn, and deploying existing formulation technologies to enhance efficacy.

But what is a biopesticide? "Anything from unrefined plant material or micro-organisms to materials that have been highly refined with clever processes to manage weeds, diseases and insects," explained Dr Gwynn. “We have an obligation to meet sustainable agriculture’s needs and biopesticides are one of the best technologies out there to help do that.”

 

  • Full report in New Year issue of the Farmers Club Journal