Biocontrol was the highlight, but its crucial role in integrated pest management programs was the underlying focus of the recent Biocontrols USA 2016 Conference & Expo. Effectively — and constantly adapting — to use all of the tools in your crop protection toolbox, including biopesticides and other biocontrols, was the consistent message throughout the two-day event.
“We’re really going to have to change the way we do things,” said Denise Manker, Director, Agronomic Development of Biologics, Bayer CropScience Biologics Division.
More than 450 growers, certified pest control advisers, researchers, and allied company representatives attended the event — presented by Meister Media Worldwide in conjunction with the Biopesticide Industry Alliance — in Monterey, CA, March 3-4.
Grounded, how-to sessions educated growers and crop advisers on a variety of topics. Presentations provided information on everything from details on new biopesticide product releases for 2016 and techniques for implementing a biocontrols trial in your field or orchard, to effectively combining biopesticides and beneficials and building mycorrhizae in soils for improved plant health. One session even covered up-and-coming techniques, including RNA interference and the highly publicized CRISPR, which may well be the next significant leaps in pest control technology.
Dozens of attendees took advantage of a field tour of biocontrol use in Salinas Valley vegetable fields and in the production system at greenhouse ornamentals young plant grower, Pacific Plug & Liner in Watsonville, CA. Others took part in a three-hour workshop offering hands-on advice to improve the use of biocontrol in their operations.
In addition to the day and a half of conference educational sessions, attendees had an opportunity to meet one-on-one with nearly 40 leading biocontrol product and service suppliers from around the country and around the world.