BioControls USA Conference & Expo 2020 Program

The program for this year’s Biocontrols USA Conference & Expo delivers information on the biological tools and techniques you need, no matter what crop you’re producing in the field, the orchard, the vineyard, or the greenhouse. This year’s event will offer you solutions in a wide variety of topical areas:

Wednesday, March 4 

7:00 am - 5:00 pm

Biocontrols Field Tour

Limited Seats Available • Additional Fees Apply

Attendees at the Biocontrols USA Conference & Expo will have the opportunity to participate in an optional field tour with a series of stops that will provide a deeper understanding of biocontrol practices, and help them improve their use of biocontrol tools. The tour will visit fruit, greenhouse ornamental, and hemp operations and research facilities to see and learn firsthand how growers and researchers are successfully incorporating biological products in their Western U.S. production systems. Lunch is provided. Tour stops will include:

Smith Gardens
Smith Gardens is a perennials and annuals grower with four locations spread across Washington, Oregon, and California. The Aurora facility, located in Oregon’s beautiful Willamette Valley, includes 37 acres of greenhouses and 3 acres of field space where it produces bedding plants (annuals and perennials), hanging baskets, and shrubs, as well as poinsettias for the winter season. Producing year round, the Aurora facility ships out as much as 132,000 flats of product during its peak shipping week and 500,000 poinsettias for the holidays. At this stop, attendees will learn about how Smith Gardens uses biocontrols in producing its hydrangeas and poinsettias, among other crops, to keep plants healthy and looking their best. We’ll also learn tips on using biopesticides in greenhouse production, including best practices for applying and evaluating biocontrol products.

Collins Agricultural Consultants Research Facilities
Collins Agricultural Consultants performs contract research testing fertilizers, biopesticides and conventional pesticides, testing products for efficacy on weeds, diseases, insects, and fertility. The facility also performs residue trials for new product registration with the EPA for food safety. At this stop, we’ll visit the Collins research farm, which has roughly 25 different crops grown per year. Our focus will be on the perennial crops and the hemp currently growing in its greenhouses, including a biopesticide trial on hemp powdery mildew.

Mid-Columbia Agricultural Research and Extension Center, Oregon State University
The Mid-Columbia Agricultural Research and Extension Center is a branch station of the Oregon Agricultural Experiment Station administered by the OSU College of Agricultural Sciences. At this stop, Oregon State University researchers will share information about ongoing biocontrol efforts in Oregon. Attendees will learn about implementation of biological control and ongoing efforts to manage invasive species in agricultural settings, with a particular focus on the orchard. Biocontrol solutions to two primary pests — codling moth, and pear psylla — will be discussed.

Orchard View, Inc.
This fourth-generation cherry operation has been one of the leaders in the Pacific Northwest in understanding the benefits of focusing on biologicals and soils in the orchard, and has experienced some dramatic results over the last several years. Mike Omeg, a popular speaker at the Biocontrols USA 2019 event, will share with attendees how Orchard View is using biocontrol and biologicals to enhance soils, prepare the ground for planting new orchard, and managing replant disease in young trees.

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Thursday, March 5 

7:00 am - 5:00 pm


8:00 am – 6:30 pm

Expo Floor Open

8:15 am – 8:30 am

Welcome Remarks

Richard Jones, Conference Chair and Corporate Content Director, Meister Media Worldwide, welcomes everyone to the 2020 Biocontrols Conference & Expo in Portland.

8:30 am - 9:15 am

Keynote Presentation:
Biological Control Tactics for 21st Century Cropping Systems

Biological control – whether through introduction, augmentation, or conservation – can be implemented in varying degrees across all modern agricultural systems, from greenhouses and high tunnels, to orchards, vegetable fields and row crops. In his Keynote presentation, J.P. Michaud will offer an applied ecological framework that growers of any crop can use to analyze their own production system for ways to improve efficacy of existing biocontrol agents, and even recognize possibilities with novel ones. With a steep increase in the number of biocontrol agents commercially available and the development of novel delivery technologies (e.g., robots, drones, etc.), you’ll learn how the different elements fit together, including best management practices for integrating biocontrol tactics with pesticides when necessary. The end goal? Empowering the grower to develop cost-effective and crop-specific solutions to pest problems, based on a foundation of biological control, that will be sustainable in the next season and in years to come.

J.P. Michaud, Professor of Entomology, Kansas State University

9:15 – 9:45 am

Networking Break/Visit the Expo

9:45 – 11:30 am

Breakout Tracks

Join Either the Fruit or Vegetable Track

Fruit Sessions

Permanent crops offer their own unique pest and crop quality challenges. In the sessions at this year’s event you’ll learn first-hand how tree fruit, grape, and nut growers are successfully incorporating biological products in their production systems to solve these problems — and how you can too.

9:45-10:20 am
Mating Disruption and Biorational Pest Management in Fruit Crops

Mating disruption supports sustainable agriculture by minimizing non-target effects such as impacts on beneficial arthropods or field workers, or on residues in products reaching the consumers. Conversely, though, a highly targeted pest management tactic means that success or failure is dependent on specific factors, including the pest species, the crop environment, and the way in which the active ingredient is dispensed. In this session, attendees will learn how to evaluate these factors with a discussion of data on mating disruption for navel orangeworm in California, and by comparison of parallel experiments on mating disruption for navel orangeworm and codling moth in walnuts and pome fruit.

Charles Burks, Research Entomologist, USDA-ARS

10:20-10:55 am
Sterile Insect Release for Farm-Scale Suppression of Codling Moth

Codling moth (CM) is a key apple pest and without effective control, growers can face major crop loss. There are several control options, including insecticides, mating disruption, and virus. However, we have seen this pest develop resistance to conventional pesticides and the efficacy of these tactics as stand-alone controls has diminished. Sterile Insect Release (SIR) has been successfully used to control CM in British Columbia, and over the last several years we have looked at ways to optimize this tool by investigating release patterns, the number, or ratio of sterile to wild needed, and release innovative release mechanisms such as drones. Attendees will learn the latest results of this research and how they may be able to incorporate SIR in their own orchard pest management strategies.

Chris Adams, Assistant Professor of Tree Fruit Entomology, Oregon State University

10:55-11:30 am
The Grower’s Take: Biocontrol Strategies That Work for Me

Biological pest management may sometimes feel like a relatively new topic, but some growers have been working with these tools for decades. In this session, fruit producer Timothy Dahle will explain how he began incorporating biocontrol strategies in his cherry and pear orchards 20 years ago, and how those strategies have evolved into a very successful program today. From codling moth management with pheromones to encouraging the buildup of predator populations through releases and improving natural habitats, Dahle will offer tips that you can put to work in your own orchard this year.

Timothy Dahle, Owner, Dahle Orchards

Vegetable Sessions

Whether your focus is field-grown or the greenhouse, the pressures from insect and disease pests are always evolving and need new solutions. At this year’s Biocontrols USA Conference you’ll learn about the latest biological tools and techniques that are providing benefits for pest management, food safety, and local, sustainable production of high-quality vegetable crops.

9:45-10:40 am
New Biocontrol Strategies in Insect Control

Whether it’s diamondback moth, beet armyworms, stinkbugs, or aphids, no matter where you grow, insect pests are a challenge in vegetable production. But biological tools, either alone, or in combination with other products can help you grow a quality crop this season. Lori Berger will take a look at some of the most troublesome insects in vegetables and discuss timing issues, environmental and safety considerations, and — most importantly — what types of biologicals and chemical/biological combinations you can employ for each. Attendees will leave this session with the tools to build a successful pest management program for your crop.

Lori Berger, Technical Service and Sustainability Manager, AgBiome Innovations

10:20-10:55 am
Five Shades of Gray Mold in Strawberry

Botrytis fruit rot is a persistent challenge for growers and Surendra Dara’s lab has focused research on a number of different control methods. In this presentation, he will discuss work with five kinds of active ingredients, including a bacterium, botanicals, chemicals, entomopathogenic fungi, and organic oils which have been evaluated in combinations and rotations. His research showed that several non-chemical treatments were as effective as chemical fungicides in disease suppression. Attendees will leave this session with actionable suggestions for using a variety of control tools (including non-chemical options), and how this fits in a good IPM program.

Surendra K. Dara, Entomology and Biologicals Advisor, University of California Cooperative Extension

10:55-11:30 am
The Grower’s Take: How to Trial Biocontrols on Your Farm

Kim Horton says there is a lot of good biocontrol research trial information available to most growers, but less so for vegetable crops. That makes finding out which solutions will work best for your own vegetable operation a challenge. She will explain her process from start to finish, including tips on proper pest identification, applying good lab techniques to field-level testing, selecting which products to trial, determining which data she selects, and keeping the rest of the team in the loop on each trial’s progress and results.

Kim Horton, Agronomist, Grimmway Farms

11:30 am - 1:00 pm

Lunch/Visit the Expo

1:00 pm - 2:45 pm

Breakout Tracks

Join Either the Cannabis or Biostimulant Track

Cannabis Sessions

Cannabis and hemp growers are limited in their pest management toolbox, leaving them without many of the options that growers of other crops have readily available. That makes biological products a critical resource. In this breakout track, you’ll learn about the tools and techniques that are working for growers just like you, and can help you produce a high-quality and highly marketable crop.

1:00-1:35 pm
Biofungicides and Biostimulants: Where Do They Fit in Cannabis and Hemp Production?

Biological products can be very useful in cannabis and help production, but there’s a lot to learn about what tools you should consider and how they work. Chris Becker will share results of his 2019 field work with biostimulants, soil amendments, Mycorrhizae, and fertilizers and their impact on root and plant size, as well as seed yield. He will also discuss his research with various biopesticides and their efficacy against key pests including powdery mildew and Botrytis. Attendees will leave this session with a better understanding of how biologicals can fit into their production plans in the coming season.

Chris Becker, Research Scientist, BAAR Scientific

1:35-1:55 pm
Cut Through the Noise: How to Make Sound Production Decisions

The Cannabis industry is full of products and there's always something new right around the corner. How do you effectively evaluate a product and separate sales hype and snake oil from quality? Tad Hussey will share his journey and how his cultivation perspectives have changed over the years as he began challenging some deeply entrenched dogmatic beliefs by utilizing the scientific method and microscope.

Tad Hussey, Owner, KIS Organics

1:55-2:15 pm
Biocontrols and Biostimulants: A Cannabis Grower's Perspective

Most growers have seen it all by now, spider mites, russet mites, powdery mildew, root aphids. Justin Magill will take you through some of the tips and tricks he's learned over the years and also how he has been able to combat pests and establish a robust IPM program utilizing biocontrols as a foundation for success.

Justin Magill, Head Grower, Legit Cannabis North

2:15-2:45 pm
Manage Cannabis Aphid with Biocontrol

Biocontrol strategies can be a challenge in any greenhouse environment, but control has been especially challenging for the Cannabis aphid (Phorodon cannabis). First detected in Oregon and has now spread across the U.S. and Canada, and it seems it will continue to be a major pest.  Growers have limited traditional chemical alternatives to work with, but biocontrol can be a viable option. Suzanne Wainwright-Evans will offer her experience with this pest, and walk attendees through biological strategies for managing cannabis aphid in the greenhouse in the coming season.

Suzanne Wainwright Evans, Owner, Buglady Consulting

Biostimulant Sessions

This new area of biological tools is getting a lot of attention, but there’s still uncertainty about exactly what these products are and how to best use them in specialty crop production. Sessions at this year’s Conference will help you understand how biostimulants can enhance soils and produce higher quality crops in your field, orchard, and even greenhouse.

1:00-1:35 pm
How Biostimulants Can Improve Strawberry Health and Yields

This relatively new category of biological tools is showing results for growers beyond simply managing pests. Surendra Dara will discuss two field studies conducted using a variety of botanical, microbial, mineral biostimulants and other similar products. Both studies demonstrated positive impact of these materials on strawberry yields. Attendees will gain a better understanding of the potential for biostimulants in crop production and how studies such as these can help you develop appropriate use strategies in your own operation.

Surendra Dara, Entomology and Biologicals Advisor, University of California Cooperative Extension

1:35-2:10 pm
Biostimulants in the Greenhouse: How They Can Work for You

Biostimulant products are becoming increasingly popular in greenhouse production as a tool to increase crop quality and stress tolerance. But just as greenhouse production systems are extremely diverse, so are the availability of products being marketed as biostimulants. So what exactly are these products, and how can they help increase the sustainability and profitability of your production? This talk will provide attendees with an overview of different biostimulant formulations and the benefits they can confer to plants, conditions to consider when implementing them into your production, and tips on trialing products in your own system. This talk will encourage discussion with attendees to share experiences with different biostimulant products and to answer questions about the formulation and implementation of these products.

Nathan Nordstedt, Graduate Fellow, The Ohio State University

2:10-2:45 pm
Biofertilizers: What Are They and How Do They Work?

Biofertilizers may be an unfamiliar term, but this category of products has been around for a long time and has big potential benefits for your crop. These microorganisms live in or on plant roots and enhance the supply or availability of nutrients to the crop, improving nutrient use efficiency and crop performance. Mark Trimmer will share what these products are, how they work, how they’re both similar and different from other microbial biostimulants products, and how you can put them to work in your operation.

Mark Trimmer, Managing Partner, DunhamTrimmer

2:45 pm - 3:15 pm

Networking Break

3:15 pm - 5:00 pm

Breakout Tracks

Join Either the Greenhouse or Organics Track

Greenhouse Sessions

The greenhouse market has long been a leader in adopting biocontrol strategies, and that trend is as strong as ever. If you’re growing in a controlled environment, the Biocontrols USA Conference program will provide information on battling your toughest greenhouse pests with sustainable but effective tools, from biopesticides to beneficials to biostimulants.

3:15-3:50 pm
BCAs: Best Practices for Biocontrol Success

The use of biological control agents for greenhouse pest management continues to surge, but confusion often exists about managing these valuable tools. In this session, attendees will learn how to handle a shipment of BCAs, the best ways to release them into the crop, and how to avoid pitfalls that can lead to ineffective control and wasted money. We'll also cover the use of biopesticides in a BCA program. You'll leave this session armed with best practices for handling and releasing BCAs, as well as information on biopesticide compatibility you can put to work in your production this season.

John Sanderson, Professor of Entomology, Cornell University

3:50-4:25 pm
Taking a Stab at IPM: Piercing and Sucking Pests

Aphids. Whiteflies. Mealybugs. These pests are perennial problems in the greenhouse, but you do have options, including biocontrol tools and techniques. In this session, Jennifer Browning will cover biological, chemical, cultural and mechanical approaches to seasonally changing populations with these piercing and sucking pests. Growers will leave this session with an understanding of changes you may need to make in your pest management program, how to know when to make these changes, and watch outs for common scenarios.

Jen Browning, Technical Service West, BASF

4:25-5:00 pm
Tips for Using BCAs and Pesticides Together Effectively in Greenhouse Production

Applying biological control agents (BCAs) and pesticides together can be a minefield. Not all are compatible, and some products are more harmful to BCAs than others. But there can be ways to work with both types of product with a spatial or time difference in application. In this session, Caroline Reid will discuss compatibility indices and strategies for getting the best out of your BCAs in situations where you have to make pesticide applications to protect your crop. Growers will leave with an understanding of the International Organization for Biological Control (IOBC) compatibility charts and how to apply this to your own crops and situations with minimal effect on your BCAs to gain maximum benefit and economic value.

Dr.Caroline Reid, Senior Technical Specialist, Bioline Agrosciences

Organics Sessions

While biological products are a great fit in conventional IPM programs, you may not realize the extent to which they can also be an extremely valuable tool in organic production. This year’s Biocontrols USA Conference will dive deep into the ins and outs of using biologicals in your organic crop this season.

3:15-3:50 pm
Best Practices: Biocontrol for Organic Production

While biological tools aren’t exclusive to organic production, biocontrol and organics are a natural fit in many ways. This presentation will kick off our breakout track and focus on pest management in organic agriculture, covering regulations, principles, and practices. Oregon Tilth’s Ben Bowell will discuss the general role of biocontrol in organic systems and share research and resources. Attendees are encouraged to bring questions about organic certification and farming practices, and will leave this session with a good feel for how they can incorporate biological strategies in their production this season.

Ben Bowell, Organic Education Specialist, Oregon Tilth & NRCS

3:50-4:25 pm
Understanding Bioherbicides: How Their Modes of Action(s) Can Work in Your Organic Cropping System

Weeds are a perennial problem for all growers, and particularly in organic production. In this session, Dave Barcel will discuss what a bioherbicide is and how the various types of bioherbicides work. These type of compounds have known modes of action with an ability to inhibit weed seed germination and development. The number of compounds available is much greater than was available some 10 years ago, but information regarding organic and or OMRI-approved herbicides has been minimal at best. Attendees in this session will learn about current information and respective products to help you manage weeds in an organic production system.

Dave Barcel, Senior Technical Manager, OHP

4:25-5:00 pm
The Grower’s Take: How I Use Biocontrol in My Organic Program

Powdery mildew and other diseases are challenging for Pacific Northwest organic producers, but biological tools can be an important part of your management strategy. Vineyard manager Dan Rinke will walk attendees through his organic program, including his use of biofungicides and cultural practices that help keep disease issues in check. You’ll also learn about how biologicals fit into his overall strategy for healthy soils and a healthy ecology for the farm.

Dan Rinke, Director of Vineyard Operations, Johan Vineyards

5:00 pm

Networking Reception

You’ve learned a lot during sessions and in the Expo throughout Day 1. Begin to tie things together and make valuable new connections in the Biocontrols Networking Reception immediately following the end of Thursday’s sessions. Relax, grab some refreshments, and talk with speakers, knowledgeable exhibitors, and your peers who are tacking the same issues you are.

Friday, March 6 

7:00 am - 1:00 pm

Registration Open

8:00 am - 12:00 pm

Exhibit Hall Open

8:30 am - 8:45 am

Opening Remarks

8:45 am – 9:30 am
The Point You're Missing About IPM

The concept of integrated pest management has been a familiar one for decades. Most growers could describe their understanding of IPM easily: Control pests with as few inputs as possible. Don’t’ spray unless you need to, be willing to accept the presence of some pests in the crop as long as it doesn’t reach an economic injury threshold, and do as little damage to natural predator populations as you can.
But in focusing on “controlling pests,” are we missing the true potential of IPM? Michael Brownbridge will walk attendees through a holistic approach to IPM that includes biocontrol from the very beginning and through production. Rather than focus on one pest and one solution, this new perspective looks at interactions and supporting strategies that enhance IPM outcomes. By placing more emphasis on methods that do not provide 'control' per se, but help promote activity and suppress pest populations, we can achieve the real benefit of integrated pest management.

Michael Brownbridge, Biological Program Manager, BioWorks

The Grower’s Take: Six Steps to Sustainable IPM

Session description: Terra Nova Nurseries has long been a leader in sustainable production, with biocontrol playing an important role. In this presentation, Tye Kyllo we share the six steps Terra Nova Nurseries took to become a more sustainable, IPM-driven operation. Attendees will learn details about the biochemistry, beneficial insects, and nematodes he and his team use to achieve this goal on a continual basis. You’ll also learn a little about the boxes Terra Nova uses to rear Dalotia coriaria for controlling greenhouse pests.

Tye J. Kyllo, Plant Health, Terra Nova Nurseries

9:30 am - 10:30 am

 New Product Showcase

Biological tools can be extremely effective no matter what crop you grow, and new biopesticides, beneficials, and biostimulants are available to help solve your most pressing problems. This popular session will showcase all of the new and upcoming biological product introductions you need to know for the 2020 season.

10:30 am - 11:00 am

Networking Break

11:00 am - 12:00 pm

Grower Panel Discussion and Q&A

Education means even more when coming from real-world experience. In this session, our panel of expert growers will explain how they are using biological solutions in the field, orchard, and greenhouse and we’ll take a look at where they see the next steps coming in the development and adoption of biological tools and techniques. We’ll also field questions from the audience to get the grower’s take on your most pressing biocontrol questions.

Kim Horton, Grimmway
Alex Traven, Peace Tree Farm
Dan Rinke, Johan Vineyards
Justin Magill, Legit Cannabis North

12:00 pm

Conference Adjourns

1:00 pm - 5:00 pm

Cannabis Workshop (Optional)
Managing Cannabis Pests with Biocontrol

Managing pests in cannabis goes beyond just spraying and releasing beneficials. There are many techniques that can improve your program and this popular workshop, led by Suzanne Wainwright-Evans of Buglady Consulting, will get down to ground level with applied lessons you can put to work in your operation immediately. This four-hour session will be broken into chapters, each covering information that will grow your IPM skill set and help you produce a high-quality crop more efficiently and effectively in 2020.

Suzanne Wainwright-Evans, Buglady Consulting
Michael Brownbridge, Biological Program Manager, BioWorks

Cannabis Workshop Overview

  • How to take photos for identification
  • How to collect samples to send for identification
  • Environmental conditions for microbial products
  • How to test microbial products for viability and which ones can you test
  • How to apply microbial pesticides in cannabis
  • Common mistakes and myths
  • Pest update for cannabis
  • Q&A with the presenters
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