More Growers Willing to Bet on Biocontrols

Hands-on, in-depth information on using biopesticides and other biocontrols. Details on dozens of new biological products from more than 30 of the world’s leading suppliers. One-on-one networking with both experts and peers looking to learn about the technology. Nearly 400 attendees from the vegetable, fruit, nut, ornamentals, and cannabis markets experienced all of this in three days of immersive learning at the Biocontrols USA West 2017 Conference and Expo, last week in Reno, NV.

Sessions ran the gamut, from research into using biopesticides effectively in conjunction with predators and parasitoids, to the use of silicon as a biopesticide, to an exploration of kairomones in monitoring and controlling pests. In-depth workshops both before and after the conference program provided what multiple attendees called some of the most beneficial educational sessions they have experienced.

The day-and-a-half conference program highlighted the high level of integration biocontrol is now experiencing among specialty crops growers. It’s a striking change from the common and not-wholly-undeserved reputation of some biopesticide products as “snake oil” a decade or so ago.

“The ‘Wild West’ time for biopesticides is over. The products that didn’t work are gone,” said Rick Melnick, Chairman of BPIA, the Biological Products Industry Alliance.

A highlight of the program was a session focused on one of the newest areas of biological technology for growers, biostimulants. These products don’t fall into the category of conventional pesticide or plant nutrients, but rather someplace in between. The benefits, however, can be additive, reportedly helping to improve plant health and crop quality.

Biostimulants were also one of the hottest topics at BPIA’s Spring Meeting & International Symposium, which preceded the start of The Biocontrols Conference & Expo. In fact, BPIA recently changed its name from the Biopesticide Industry Alliance to Biological Products Industry Alliance, in part due to a need to help bring biostimulants into the mainstream and begin to push for some of the same focus and growth experienced by the biospesticide market in recent years.

Meister Media Worldwide, publisher of Greenhouse Grower, American Vegetable Grower, American Fruit Grower, Western Fruit Grower, and Florida Grower, announced during the event that the Biocontrols Conference & Expo will be expanding into a series of four events in 2017. In addition to the just-completed USA West event, Meister will host the Biocontrols USA East 2017 Conference & Expo in Orlando, FL, October 12-13. This event will focus on the unique needs of growers in the eastern U.S. and will be held in conjunction with BPIA. Two international events will also launch this year, including Biocontrols Africa in Cape Town, South Africa in July, and Biocontrols Mexico in Guadalajara in September.

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