While biopesticides have so far mainly been used on horticultural crops, a reduction in conventional pesticides is likely to see them used more widely on broadacre crops in future.
That is the view of University of Warwick researcher Dr David Chandler. “Biopesticides are having a big impact on horticultural crops because growers want to have more tools in their armoury. There are issues with field crops such as ecological complexity and an uncontrolled environment but there are opportunities to recruit natural populations of parasitoids, predators and pathogens.
“Growers will be using biopesticides in future simply because there is such a reduction in chemical pesticides.”
Biopesticides currently used in horticulture include Beauveria bassiana – a fungal pathogen of whiteflies; Bacillus subtilis – which offers bacterial control of botrytis, powdery mildew and downy mildew and Chenopodium terpenes, an essential oil for control of spider mites, explained Dr Chandler.
He advised talking to crop protection companies to get information about products coming through, highlighting that most of the cutting edge research and development was being done by companies outside the UK, based in countries such as France, Germany and the US.