Biocontrols Conference USA EAST 2017 Agenda

 See what you missed at last years conference

Wednesday, October 11, 2017

Optional Pre-Conference Tour – 8:00 am-5:00 pm


Biocontrol in the Field: Real World Applications You Can Use

7:45 am-5:00 pm

Join us for an optional full-day bus tour prior to the start of the Biocontrols USA East 2017 Conference & Expo. This unique event will provide you with a close-up look at how various biological control methods are being employed in vegetable, ornamental, berry, and citrus production in Florida. At each stop you’ll hear from growers just like you who are implementing these tools in their production — as well as how they’re playing a role in the story they can share with their customers. We’ll also visit one of the University of Florida/Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences leading research stations to see some of the innovative work they’re doing to help growers implement biological control techniques. Each tour stop will feature a brief workshop-type session that will help you develop your knowledge and skills in using biocontrols.

Our tour stops include:

Long & Scott Farms vegetable operation, Mt. Dora, FL

Mercer Botanicals greenhouse operation, Mt. Dora, FL

University of Florida IFAS Mid-Florida Research and Education Center, Apopka, FL

Southern Hill Farms berry operation and packing house, Mount Dora, FL

Uncle Matt’s Organic citrus grove, Clermont, FL

Thursday, October 12, 2017

7:00 am
Registration Opens
8:00 – 8:15 am
Welcome and Introduction

Richard Jones
Executive Editor, U.S. Horticulture Group, Meister Media Worldwide

8:15 – 9:00 am
Keynote – The Future Lies Here: Biocontrols, Biopesticides, Biostimulants…the Bioprogram Has Come of Age!

Michael Brownbridge
Research Director, Horticultural Production Systems, Vineland Research and Innovation Centre

For many years, modern agriculture has relied on synthetic pesticides to maintain the quality and achieve the yield potential of fresh produce and plants. But, growers are increasingly faced with the loss or failure of pest control products, declining access to new chemistries, stricter environmental/health and safety regulations, and the need to produce plants and vegetables in a manner that meets the demands of a retail/consumer driven market. These developments are creating opportunities for new biological products and in turn, these bioproducts are shaping the programs in which they are used.

Biologicals of all stripes have moved from being a curiosity and into the mainstream. There is significant growth in demand for biocontrol agents and biopesticides around the world, and expansion in the biostimulants market shows no signs of abating. Timing of application is critical to the successful use of these materials along with an awareness of their ‘fit’ with other control strategies. Understanding their modes of action is also important; these may include induced plant responses which regulate (but do not necessarily kill, per the old pesticide paradigm) pests and diseases.

These aspects will be discussed, using working examples wherever possible to help illustrate the opportunities and challenges we face in the new era of the ‘biologicals’.

9:00 – 9:45 am
Invasive Pests and Biocontrol

Lance S. Osborne
Professor and Associate Center Director, University of Florida

The Q-Biotype Whitefly. Chilli thrips. Citrus red mite. Mealy bugs. Invasive pests like these are the scourge of growers throughout the Eastern U.S.

The use of natural enemies, such as fungi, parasitoids, and predators, is an integral tool in the management of these pests attacking ornamental, vegetable, and fruit crops. Despite our best efforts, sometimes failures do occur. But there are steps you can take to increase your opportunity for success.

Dr. Lance Osborne will talk about some of the reasons why growers may have become dissatisfied with their attempts at using biocontrols. From banker plant systems to evaluating the quality of biological controls, Dr. Osborne will discuss ideas and techniques that will help you avoid declines in crop production or quality and improve the results of your pest management program.

9:45 – 10:30 am
Coffee Break – In Exhibit Hall
10:30 – 11:00 am
Regulatory Updates from U.S. EPA

Mark Hartman
Deputy Director, EPA Biopesticides & Pollution Prevention Division, U.S. EPA,
Office of Pesticides Programs

EPA’s Mark Hartman will fill us in on a number of topics, including:

  • What is going on with respect to biopesticides at EPA
  • How biopesticides are currently categorized at EPA
  • At look at some of the new products in the microbial and biochemical categories and how are they used.

In addition, Mr. Hartman will discuss BPPD’s priorities and direction for 2018 and what EPA would like to see move forward with respect to biopesticides in the coming year. This will include a discussion on biostimulants, current policy and practice.

11:00 – 11:30 am
Greenhouse Application Equipment & Biocontrol

Kurt Becker
Executive Vice President, Dramm Corporation

There are many different types of spray equipment for application in greenhouses, and each has its strengths and weaknesses. When you add in the sensitivities of biocontrol agents, choosing the right machine is important. Dramm’s Kurt Becker will discuss various types of equipment, from hydraulic sprayers to thermal foggers and low volume equipment, that can be used in biocontrol application, as well the limits of these tools that can contribute to application failures and how to overcome them. In this session you will learn how to achieve maximum results by selecting the right equipment for the product you’re applying, the pest you’re trying to control, and the conditions you’re working in.

11:30 am – 12:00 pm
Marketing Your Biocontrol Program: The Opportunity You Need To Stop Missing

Suzanne Wainwright-Evans
Owner, Buglady Consulting

The use of biopesticides and other biocontrols is one of the best stories we can share with our customers and the public. So why aren’t more of us doing it? In this session, we’ll take a look at some specific marketing tools and opportunities you may be missing, hear about growers who have had success marketing their biocontrol efforts, and talk about what you as a grower and all of us as an industry can do to raise the awareness of the benefits we’re delivering through the use of softer and more sustainable pest control programs.

12:00 – 1:15 pm
1:15 – 2:30 pm
Biocontrol Products You Need to Know for 2018

Moderator – Richard Jones
Executive Editor, U.S. Horticulture Group, Meister Media Worldwide

Learn about a dozen of the best new and soon-to-be released biopesticide, biochemical, microbial, and biostimulants technologies for the upcoming season. Experts from some of the world’s leading biological products suppliers will walk attendees through the latest technology in pest management that you can put to work in your operation in the coming season.

2:30 – 3:00 pm
Coffee Break – In Exhibit Hall
Breakout Sessions - Two Concurrent Tracks
3:00 – 5:00 pm

Citrus Track

3:00 – 3:40 pm
Organic Citrus and Biocontrol: A Grower’s Take

Ben McLean III
Head of Research, Uncle Matt’s Organic

Uncle Matt’s Organic is a high-profile example of how biocontrol has been a valuable addition to organic citrus production. Uncle Matt’s Ben McLean III will discuss how biopesticides and other biological tools fit in as an integral part of their organic production, and how it has become an important component in their marketing message, too.

In this session, attendees will learn about the effects of biological control methods and materials for psyllid control in an organic citrus grove, with a presentation of one year’s worth of data in a study done with Benny McLean and Michael Rogers of the University of Florida. There will also be a discussion of several antibacterial products and therapies for remediation of citrus greening disease, with a presentation of one year of data from a study done by Benny McLean and Ron Brlansky of the University of Florida.

3:40 – 4:20 pm
Research on New Solutions for the Asian Citrus Psyllid

Biocontrol shouldn’t be overlooked in finding answers for managing the vector of citrus greening. You’ll hear from two of the industry’s leading researchers on efforts made to better understand how the psyllid works and how a parasitic wasp could be a significant part of the solution to surviving HLB.

Stephen Lapointe, Ph.D.
Research Entomologist, USDA, ARS, U.S. Horticultural Research Laboratory

USDA’s Stephen Lapointe will share research on efforts to gain a better understanding of the psyllid leading to more effective methods of control, including biocontrol. Some insect pests, most notably species of moths and beetles, use odors to orient to their host plants and members of their own species for mating. Their highly-evolved dependence on chemical cues such as pheromones and kairomones present an opportunity for humans to use their chemical signals to attract them to traps or disrupt their mating as has been done for the citrus leafminer. One might hope that similar tools could be developed for the Asian citrus psyllid, the most damaging insect pest of citrus worldwide due to its ability to transmit the citrus greening disease pathogen. Adult psyllids depend on several sensory inputs (cues) to find their way in the world. Photoreceptors in the insects’ eyes perceive wavelengths visible to humans as well as ultraviolet (UV) and polarized light. Dispersal is mostly passive and aided by wind. Attraction mediated by odors may occur in this species but it has not been conclusively demonstrated. Gustation (taste) plays an important role in the acceptance of a host plant once the psyllid has come into contact with a leaf as has been demonstrated by recent discoveries in our laboratory of a set of small molecules that stimulate feeding. We refer to these as phagostimulants. Finally, these tiny insects along with many other species of Homopterans, use substrate vibration (stridulation) to communicate with others. Males and females have sex-specific ‘songs’ that mediate the final stages of mating. We will explore these advances in understanding of the psyllid’s world and examine how we might use this knowledge to devise control strategies for use in Florida citrus.

Robin J. Stuart
Biological Scientist, Division of Plant Industry, Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services

Robin Stuart will discuss production and release of the parasitic wasp, Tamarixia radiata, and its role in Asian Citrus Psyllid and Citrus Greening Disease management.  This parasite was first released in Florida in 1999 and is now well established in the state but augmenting populations continues to be important because of fluctuations in pest and parasite populations as the result of seasonality, weather effects, citrus tree flushing patterns and pesticide spray programs. The Tamarixia Release Program of the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services currently produces over 3 million of these wasps per year and provides them free of charge to growers and home owners upon request. Attendees in this session will learn how Tamarixia parasitizes the psyllid, how it is being used to manage the vector of citrus greening, and how growers can participate in this program in their own groves.

4:20 – 5:00 pm
Biocontrols and the Conventional Grower’s Perspective

Holly Chamberlain
Regional Agronomy Director and Florida Model Farm Manager
International Farming Corporation, LLC 

There’s often a misconception that biopesticides and biocontrol are primarily for organic programs, but that perspective overlooks the rotational value of these products as part of more traditional pest management strategies. Holly Chamberlain, Production Manager for Premier Citrus Management, one of the top citrus producers in the U.S., will discuss citrus production in Florida, combining conventional techniques with the use of biopesticides to help manage contemporary and age-old issues in citrus.  HLB, citrus canker, development pressure, and hurricanes have ravaged citrus from a 850,000 acre industry to a 400,000 industry.  Growers are mindful to create sustainable production programs to work with the disease and industry pressure that we have today.

Greenhouse/Ornamentals Track

3:00 – 3:40 pm
Biocontrol: The Grower’s Perspective

Carol S. Glenister
Entomologist, IPM Laboratories, Inc.   

Chris Schlegel
Head Grower, D.S. Cole Growers

Predatory mites are successfully controlling spider mites, thrips, fungus gnats and whiteflies in many greenhouse operations worldwide. They overcome many problems that growers find difficult to control using cultural and chemical means. In this session, two speakers on the front lines present how one of the leading ornamental greenhouse operations in the country has had great success integrating predatory mite release schedules with chemical controls to finally get the upper hand in this endless battle. Schlegel will provide an overview of how D.S. Cole Growers began their predatory mite programs and what steps they have taken to expand the program over the last several years. Glenister will discuss the optimum ways to handle predatory mites to support their best effectiveness.

 3:40 – 4:20 pm
Biologicals: Micro Friends with Macro Benefits

Dr. Chris Hayes
Technical Sales Manager, SE BioWorks

In this session we will walk you through the dos & don’ts of using microbes as biocontrol agents to control insects and pathogens. This presentation will help you better understand how microbials work; why they are being requested and used; resistance management, safety, and market needs; why you should be using microbials as prevention vs. a curative; compatibility/tank mix tips for using microbials and traditional chemicals together if desired; and registered vs. non-registered strains. You will walk away with a better understanding of microbials and understanding what questions to ask your biocontrol suppliers to increase your chances of success using biologicals.


4:20 – 5:00 pm
How to Successfully Implement and Manage Aphidius in Your Greenhouse IPM Program

Richard Densel
Grower, Van Vugt Greenhouses

We have all heard about the family of parasitic wasps, Aphidius, and we have all seen the pictures of the aphid “mummies” they produce. In this very practical session, you will learn from a grower who is using Aphidius day in and day out, and get actionable advice that will help you implement these amazing creatures in an IPM program. Densel will discuss his 10 years of experience using the Aphidius banker system to control aphids on a variety of common greenhouse crops.  He will explain his successes and failures, and will reveal a few trade secrets that may help you avoid common mistakes. From this session, growers can expect to learn some tips on scouting for aphids, how to successfully raise Aphidius using the aphid banker system, several ways to deal with aphid hot spots, and how to integrate insecticides with Aphidius.

5:00 – 6:30 pm
Networking Reception

Following the conclusion of the day’s sessions, take advantage of the opportunity to meet one-on-one and network with speakers, exhibitors, and your fellow attendees in the Expo Hall.

Friday, October 13, 2017

7:30 am
Registration Opens
Breakout Sessions - Two Concurrent Tracks
8:00 – 10:00 am

Vegetable Track

8:00 – 8:40 am
Managing Bemisia tabaci in Field Vegetables

Hugh Smith
Assistant Professor, Vegetable Entomology, University of Florida, Gulf Coast Research and Education Center

The sweetpotato whitefly, Bemisia tabaci MEAM1, is one of the most damaging pests of horticultural, ornamental, and field crops globally, and one of the most challenging to manage. We will explore options for managing the sweetpotato whitefly in the Eastern U.S. (including a look at Florida’s subtropical conditions), focusing on the whitefly as a vector of tomato yellow leaf curl and other viruses. Approaches to monitoring whiteflies in the field will be discussed.  The session will emphasize options for integrating conventional insecticides, biopesticides, host plant resistance, and biological control.

8:40 – 9:20 am
Practical Tips for Eastern Vegetable Growers- Integrating New Produce Safety Rules and Modern IPM

Craig A. Campbell
Senior Field R&D Scientist, Valent U.S.A., LLC

The Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA) requires that at least one responsible party from your farm must successfully complete an approved food safety training course. University Extension educators recognize that these new rules can be challenging for growers to understand and adopt. Come to this talk to get tips related to FSMA rules and Good Agricultural Practices for the vegetable industry. Simple steps will help you follow the rules and manage required recordkeeping. This session will also include ideas about biocontrol use, pesticide residue management, and modern IPM. You will be provided with down-to-earth information about biocontrols that can be put to use right away in your IPM programs.

You already know about the value of biorational products or you wouldn’t be at this conference, so we will focus on specific tips relevant to all Eastern vegetable growers. American Vegetable Grower reported this year that more than half of all growers use biocontrols, and you may be surprised to hear that more than 40% of conventional (not organic) growers also use biocontrols. As new biocontrol choices become available and complex regulations are developed to catch-up with emerging technologies, it can be tough for growers to differentiate and assess new products. Come hear some ways to quickly identify strengths and weaknesses of biocontrol product offerings. Product stability, special handling procedures, and tank mix compatibility are but a few of the important considerations when choosing a new biocontrol product.

9:20 – 10:00 am
Microbial-based Biostimulants: Grower, Supplier, and Researcher Perspectives on their Use in Vegetable Production

Matt Kleinhenz
Extension Vegetable Specialist, Ohio State University/OARDC

Vegetables have been grown for millennia but most agree that there is still much more to learn about the process in order to improve it, especially when modern metrics for success are considered. Today, globally and in the U.S., growers and others are solidly engaged in discovering how including specific microbes, in the form of crop inoculants known as biostimulants or biofertilizers, may enhance production.

Individual species or strains of bacteria, fungi, algae, or other microorganisms have long been known to act as a grower’s friend. What is different now? Two important developments. First, biostimulant/biofertilizer products advertised as being able to enhance crop growth, especially under stressful conditions, have never been more plentiful. Unfortunately, unlike for other production inputs, the large number of crop biostimulants is not matched with an equally solid set of grower-friendly, research-based information describing their use, efficacy, or return on investment. Second, pressure to farm more efficiently and to be more productive while having the smallest environmental footprint continues to rise. Together, these developments intensify peoples’ interest in microbial-based biostimulants and information useful in selecting and using them and evaluating their effectiveness.

This session will summarize grower, supplier, and researcher perspectives on microbial-based biostimulants. Content will focus on steps growers can take – beginning immediately – to employ these products more effectively. The value of existing and soon-to-be developed resources and collaborative product evaluations will be emphasized.

Fruit Track

8:00 – 8:40 am
Fireblight and Biocontrol

George Sundin
Professor and Extension Specialist of Tree Fruit Pathology, Michigan State University

The humid climate of the Eastern and Midwestern U.S. places serious constraints on the management of fire blight because high humidities and abundant moisture favor the establishment and spread of this disease.  As a consequence, the utilization of biological controls for fire blight has been very difficult in these regions.  Research efforts have focused on proper application timings of materials and other ecological strategies to enable successful control.  In this session, we will provide an overview of fire blight disease and discuss effective disease management strategies and how biological controls can successfully fit into programs in humid climates.

8:40 – 9:20 am
Spotted Wing Drosophila Management in Strawberry and Blueberry Crops

Manuel Campos, Ph.D.
Entomologist, BioSafe Systems

Spotted wing drosophila (SWD) is one of the most damaging pests fruit growers face today. In this session, we will take a look at the history and biology of SWD in the United States, and review its economic impact on both currently affected fruits and additional crops that could be targets or hosts in the future.  Growers will learn to utilize this information to better understand the importance of and best practices for monitoring and trapping of SWD, critical cultural practices, and proven IPM programs to manage SWD pests in their various life stages.  Manual Campos will also offer a brief review of new post-harvest innovations being investigated that may prove an effective tool in managing SWD outbreaks in fruit after harvest.

9:20 – 10:00 am
Integrated Pest and Pollinator Management in Eastern Apple Orchards

Neelendra Joshi, Ph.D.
Assistant Professor of Entomology, University of Arkansas, Division of Agriculture

Tree fruit IPM programs in the Eastern U.S. are a hybrid system of relying mostly on insecticides for the control of pests that feed directly on the fruit such as the codling moth, but rely heavily on conserving biological control agents of mites, aphids, and scale insects with selective pesticide choice or timing less selective pesticide applications to minimize exposure.  In the case of pest mites such as the European red mite, tactics that conserve the Phystosiid predatory mite, Typhlodromus pyri, will be discussed.  Tree fruit IPM programs have also recently evolved to also include the conservation of many species of wild pollinators that provide the majority of pollination in many apple and peach orchards using the same principles and examples of pre-bloom and post-bloom tactics to conserve pollinators will also be discussed.

10:00 – 10:30 am
Coffee Break – In Exhibit Hall
Biostimulants Track – General Session
10:30 am – 12:00 pm
10:30 – 11:15 am
The Biostimulants Basics

Brian Cornelious
Director of Applied Sciences, Agricen

Learn everything you need to know about these emerging new biological tools for fruit, vegetable citrus and ornamental crops. This presentation will offer an overview of the biostimulants segment, and how the technologies fit into integrated crop management practices and disciplines. In this session, you will learn:

  • The landscape of biostimulant product technologies — what they are and what agronomic and economic benefits they target
  • Regulatory considerations: where biostimulants fit in the framework of plant regulators and exempted or “dual use” products
  • Attributes of major categories of products — active ingredients/modes of action and where they fit
  • Considerations for selection and use, in the context of integrated crop management practices, and
  • Trends in R&D: Where the investment in biostimulant technologies is taking us.
11:15 am – 12:00 pm
Integrating Biostimulants in Your Production System

John Kempf
Agriculture Investor, Entrepreneur, Advancing Eco Agriculture

Many different biostimulant products have come on the market just in the past few years, and many more are being developed. These biostimulants have many different active compounds and modes of action. Humic and fulvic acids, seaweeds, mychorrizal fungi, rhizosphere bacteria, phytosanitary bacteria, plant immune elicitors, microbial stimulants and more are all recognized as biostimulants.  Fertilizer and pesticide applications do not integrate well with some  of these products, particularly those based on living organisms. In addition, many biostimulants can produce very different results based on the stage of crop development at which they are applied.

In this presentation, Kempf will describe a decision making framework to evaluate which biostimulants are a fit for you, and how to fit them in your pesticide application program. He will also discuss how to position different types of biostimulants in a crop system plan for the greatest economic crop response.

Friday, October 13, 2017

Optional Post-Conference Workshop – 1:00 – 4:00 pm


Build a Biocontrol Program to Fit Your Growing System

Suzanne Wainwright-Evans
Owner, Buglady Consulting

1:00-4:00 pm

This half-day workshop following the conclusion of the Conference program on Friday, October 13, goes beyond the basics and is designed to help experienced users take your biological control program to the next level. Learn how to integrate biopesticides into biocontrol programs as well as learn about some of the latest research.

This informative class will cover useful information that any grower can use in their pest management programs. In this session, attendees will learn:

  • Specifics about working with the different types of biocontrol packaging, and where to use each.
  • Tips for incorporating biopesticides into biocontrol programs.
  • How and where to get insects, mites, and diseases identified.
  • Research updates on biocontrol and pest management.
  • And what’s coming in biological control.