Farmers are being encouraged to make their crop protection schemes more sustainable, because of the withdrawal of active substances under increasingly stringent European policy, but also because of the extra-legal requirements with regard to residues of plant protection products imposed by retailers. Biological control products can offer new possibilities for farmers to increase sustainability. Therefore, Inagro has been investigating how biological control products can be implemented in conventional farming systems and how their use can be increased.

(New) biological control products to improve sustainability of crop protection

Some commercialized biocontrol products are successful such as Ambleyseius cucumeris to depress Western flower thrips populations and Coniothyrium minitans to suppress the fungal plant diseases caused by Sclerotinia spp. Inagro stimulates the use of these biological control agents in plant protection schemes.  

However, some biological control products do not always perform sufficiently well in field trials, although they show good efficacy in laboratory environments. Therefore, Inagro has been investigating in the Interreg project ‘Bioprotect’ how to optimise application conditions and techniques for these (new) biological control products to increase the efficacy of these products. This is a requirement for use as an alternative to chemical products in conventional crop protection schemes. For example the efficacy of the Serenade ASO biocontrol products can be enhanced with an additive. This was observed repeatedly in carrot disease field trials. Some additives can increase the efficacy against powdery mildew in carrot (Erysiphe heracleï) by 35-45%.  

Inagro has also been exploring how chemical control schemes can be reduced by means of (new) biological control products. We saw that crop protection schemes solely containing biocontrol products didn’t protect strawberries sufficiently against mildew-infestation (Podosphaera aphanis) on covered table tops, but biocontrol products can improve disease control in a reduced chemical control scheme.  For example, a reduced chemical control scheme against a mildew-infestation in strawberries can be improved by Karma, containing potassium bicarbonate, which contributes to the curative control by physically burning the mycelium.  

Het BIOPROTECT-project kadert binnen het Interreg-programma Frankrijk-Wallonië-Vlaanderen, met financiële steun van het Europees Fonds voor Regionale Ontwikkeling. BIOPROTECT staat voor ‘Biologische gewasbescherming in de praktijk: optimalisatie van de efficiëntie in het veld van (nieuwe) biologische gewasbeschermingsmiddelen.  

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