Pre-Conference Tour

Biocontrols USA West Field Tour

The Pacific Northwest is one of the nation’s leading regions supporting biological control and sustainable production methods. Join the Biocontrols Field Tour to see firsthand how these tools and techniques are being put to use in specialty crop production by some of the region’s leading growers and researchers.

This full-day bus tour, held the day before the start of the 2019 Biocontrols USA West Conference & Expo will allow you to see biocontrol in action at stops including an Oregon State University Research and Extension Center, a greenhouse ornamentals grower, a vegetable grower, and fruit grower, a hops grower, and more. Each stop on this day-long tour will  provide lessons you can put to work immediately in your own operation.

Biocontrols Tour Schedule

Please Note: all participants must ride the bus. No individual cars are allowed.

Siri & Son Farms 

Terra Nova Nurseries 

North Willamette Research and Extension Center, Oregon State University for tour and lunch 

Oregon Hophouse 

Willamette Valley Vineyards 


Thursday, March 14

8:00 – 8:15


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

8:15 – 9:00

Three Reasons Why Your Integrated Pest Management Program Is Struggling

Integrated Pest Management is a dynamic process that is ever-changing. The learning curve can be steep, so taking a step back to analyze your system and approach is imperative. There are numerous variables to consider when auditing a struggling pest management program. In this talk, you’ll learn about three specific challenge areas growers in fruits, vegetables, ornamentals, and cannabis are currently facing, and how you can prevent your program from experiencing the same. Join Charlie McKenzie to learn about the toolbox growers have at their disposal, how important a quality scouting program is, and what it might take to ultimately solve your challenge.

Charlie McKenzie, Director of Partnership/Co-founder, CropWalk/CropTalk

9:00 – 9:45

Strategizing & Planning Your Biological Control program is Key to Success

To be successful with a pest management program based on a biological control strategy, a few key components are critical. In this session, specialty crop growers and consultants will learn a game plan that will help you address these pieces of a successful program. Key elements will include: Using biological control as a first line of defense; ‘Clean’ young plants (including pests as well as residues); Starting early in the production process — ideally immediately at seeding or during cutting production and or rooting; Compatibility of BCAs, biopesticides, and traditional chemistry during the crop cycle — where there’s a fit, and where could it cause trouble; and, Planning your program to make sure biocontrol products are available when you need them. You’ll learn from practical, real-world examples that can help you to implement and optimize your pest management strategy.

Ronald Valentin, Director of Technical Business, BCA. BioWorks

9:45 – 10:30

Break – Visit the Expo

10:30 – 11:30

Biocontrol Products You Need to Know for 2019

Learn about the best new and soon-to-be released biochemical, microbial, biological control agent, 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 2019.

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

11:30 – 1:00

Lunch – Visit the Expo

Breakout Sessions

1:00 pm – 3:00 pm

Vegetables and Biocontrol

Moderator: Carol Miller

Biocontrol for Vegetable Disease Management in Organic and Integrated Programs

When considering incorporating biocontrols into your vegetable production system, it’s important to consider your options. In this session, Valent BioSciences’ plant pathologist Dr. Johannes Mathieu will explore the types of biorational fungicides available in the market, how they work, and the advantages and disadvantages of each. Ed Chell, a Valent Technical Specialist and long-time fresh market pepper grower, will then walk growers through building a plan that uses biocontrols to control soil diseases in conventional or organic systems.

Ed Chell, Valent Sales Specialist, Sustainable Business Unit – Cascades

Johannes Mathieu, Product Development Manager, Valent Biosciences

Biological Control: The Grower’s Perspective

Washington vegetable growers Jason Brown and Brad Bailie share their experiences in using biocontrols, offering which real-world-tested techniques work well for them. They’ll also share what hasn’t performed as expected, how they adjusted their methods, and what they recommend other growers try. Bailie and Brown bring different perspectives, with Bailie managing a fully organic operation, and Brown having a more conventional farm with about 10% devoted to organic produce.

Brad Bailie, Lenwood Farms

Jason Brown, Farm Manager, Mercer Ranches

How Effective Are Botanical Insecticides in Vegetable Field Production?

In this session, learn about the newest botanical insecticides’ novel modes of action, including both contact toxicity and behavioral actions (deterrence, repellence), and how they can be used in vegetable IPM programs as early season standalone treatments or in combination with conventional products in rotation or as tank mixes. Dr. Isman will also share trial data from Mexico and Europe. In addition, you will learn how best to deploy these products for maximum efficacy while maintaining environmental sustainability.

Murray B. Isman, Dean Emeritus at the University of British Columbia

1:00 pm – 3:00 pm

Fruit and Biocontrol

Moderator: David Eddy

Integrating Biological Control into Management of Brown Marmorated Stink Bug

Biological control from the samurai wasp, an egg parasitoid may reduce BMSB populations over time, but little is known about the wasp’s behavior and establishment patterns. Since samurai wasp’s original detection in Oregon in 2016, the wasp has been redistributed and monitored across several eco-regions and within caneberry and hazelnut. In this session, attendees will learn about the field conditions for successful samurai wasp colonization and strategies that could improve biocontrol of Brown Marmorated Stink bug in your orchard crops.

David Lowenstein, Ph.D. Postdoctoral Research Associate, Oregon State University

Evaluating Biocontrols for Managing Fire Blight 

Fire blight has long been a devastating disorder for apples and pears, both in the more arid Western U.S. and in the wetter growing conditions of the East. Most conventional tree fruit growers opt for antibiotics. But, antibiotic resistance is becoming more of an issue, and the products are no longer allowed at all in organic production. In this session, we take a look at the latest research on biological controls for fire blight from around the country and discuss how effective they can be in your orchard next season. 

Anna Wallis, PhD Student, Cornell University

Biopesticides in Management of Fruit Pests and Diseases: What Are Your Options, and How Do They Work?

With the rapid rise of biopesticides in crop protection in recent years, growers of both conventional and organic fruits are faced with more options than ever to effectively manage pests and diseases while reducing pesticide residues, preserving beneficial species, and minimizing other risks. Matching the proper biological tool to the crop protection need requires an understanding of some key characteristics of the biopesticide: Is it a live microorganism or a nonliving extract of a microbe or plant? How is it best stored, handled, and applied? And how does it actually protect the crop (the mode of action)? This presentation will answer these and other questions as it highlights some examples of biopesticides used in fruit production.

Michael Dimock, Vice President, Field Development, Certis USA

3:00 – 3:30

Break – Visit the Expo

Breakout Sessions

3:30 – 5:30 pm


Moderator: Carol Miller

Biostimulants for the Greenhouse Industry

Biostimulants are products that can stimulate natural plant processes that increase nutrient uptake, nutrient efficiency, tolerance to environmental stress, and crop quality. Active ingredients in these products may include beneficial microorganisms, seaweed extracts, organic acids, protein hydrolysates, and many other substances. How do you choose from all the available products and how do you incorporate them into your production system? This session will address these questions and share current research results on different biostimulant products for both greenhouse ornamentals and vegetables. Growers will learn what success with biostimulants looks like and how you should conduct in-house trials.

Michelle Jones, Professor and D.C. Kiplinger Floriculture Endowed Chair, The Ohio State University

Consider Biostimulants for Vegetable Plant Health

Biostimulants offer a range of benefits from improved crop uniformity, to nutrient mobilization, to enhanced yield, but choosing a biostimulant and measuring its success can be challenging. Dr. Aaron Waltz will show independent research data for crops including onions, peppers, lettuce and other vegetables to demonstrate how setting up correctly designed trials is key to understanding how biostimulants build plant health and your bottom line.

Aaron Waltz, Ph.D., Director Field Trials and Nutrition, Concentric

The Grower’s View: Biostimulants, Soil Health, and Practical Applications for Your Orchard

Soil health is a critical component of a quality fruit crop and biostimulants can play a role in your success. There’s an increasing amount of research on the use of biostimulants, but how can you apply the results of small-scale trialing to 300 acres or even 3000 acres of commercial production? Cherry grower Mike Omeg has made biostimulants part of his production and he will describe for attendees the techniques he is using, why he’s using them, and the results he’s seeing. You will learn about his actionable recipe for improving soil health with biostimulants and how it can contribute to a successful and profitable crop. This session will focus on practical solutions you can use this season in your own production.

Mike Omeg, Owner, Research & Development Manager, Orchard View Inc.

3:30 – 5:30 pm

Protected Production and Biocontrol

Moderator: Brian Sparks

Developing New Biocontrol Tools for Use in North America: Supplemental Foods and a New Thrips Predator, Transeius montdorensis

In this session, we will take a look at the considerable potential of two new tools and strategies for improving the efficacy of biological control in North America. The importance of supplemental foods for improved predator performance has for some time now been recognized and applied in greenhouses of Europe, but little is known of the significance of foods for optimal crop establishment of two native North American predators, Orius insidiosus and Dicyphus hesperus. Growers will learn how these predators respond to three food types, the cost of these food sources, and best application strategies to improve predator establishment and long-term crop protection. You will also learn about a new phytoseiid predatory mite, Transeius montdorensis, and compare its performance relative to other phytoseiid species commonly used in North America including Amblyseius swirskii, Amblydromalus limonicus and Neoseiulus cucumeris.

Dr. Roselyne Labbé, Agriculture and Agri-food Canada, Harrow, Ontario, Canada

Recent Advances in IPM Biocontrol in Protected Cultures

Early establishment of natural enemies on nursery transplants can be a key factor to a successful IPM- Biocontrol program in a given crop. Attendees will learn about how applying a unique quality of the brine shrimp Artemia decapsulated cysts has contributed to early establishment of the minute pirate bug, Orius laevigatus, on transplants of greenhouse sweet pepper in Southwest Israel. This early establishment led to a more efficient biocontrol of Western flower thrips, compared to release of the natural enemy without Artemia. One of the challenges that can get in the way of developing a robust and sustainable IPM-Biocontrol program in protected crops is the occurrence of secondary pests. The most abundant secondary pests in greenhouse vegetables and the ways to combat them, will be presented. That will include: new thrips species, a mirid bug, mealybug species, and — last but not least — the first (global) evidence of a “natural enemy of a natural enemy.”

Shimon Steinberg, BioBee Sde Eliyahu Ltd. Israel

Challenges and Efficacy of Biocontrols in Indoor Agriculture 

Biocontrols provide unique challenges and advantages when used in indoor environments. Space constraints, mechanical equipment, ultra-clean environments, and light can create obstacles not seen in the traditional greenhouse or field. However, environment and the ability to manipulate systems can work to a grower’s advantage when using biocontrols in an indoor farm. While some biocontrols can be used just as effectively indoors, they may require a different application method. And some biocontrols are rendered ineffective by indoor environments. In this session, you’ll hear from the Senior Grower in charge of Integrated Pest Management implementation at a major vertical farming operation and learn first-hand how mastering biocontrol is of vital importance for Plenty to execute on its mission of producing pesticide-free, sustainable, healthy food. 

Haydn Christensen, Senior Grower – IPM Implementation, Plenty Unlimited Inc.

5:30 – 7:00

Networking Reception with Speakers, Suppliers and Your Grower Peers

Friday, March 15

Breakout Sessions

8:30 am – 10:30 am

Greenhouse Ornamentals Track

Moderator: Brian Sparks

Creating a Biological Program for Pest Magnet Crops: A Grower’s Perspective

At Fessler Nursery, growers use a beneficial insect based IPM approach. Focusing on Thunbergia and Gerbera crops, Head Grower Taylor Burk will discuss the different biological organisms and banker plant systems she uses, and why these are effective in producing crops that are often plagued by pests. She will highlight the reasons why she made decisions on using chemicals, as well as the importance of full greenhouse evaluations and crop rotation within greenhouse production. Growers and IPM managers attending this session can expect to learn about the labor and cost associated with using a beneficial insect-based IPM regimen.

Taylor Burk, Propagation Manager, Heritage Seedlings and Liners

IPM of Poinsettia Pests: A Canadian Perspective

This informative session will present case studies from Canada, where biocontrol programs versus chemical programs have been compared head-to-head for silverleaf (Bemisia) whitefly control. The speaker will highlight products used, economics, and the impact of whitefly species on control outcomes.

Dr. Sarah Jandricic, Greenhouse Floriculture IPM Specialist , Ontario Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs

Biopesticide Efficacy on Greenhouse Ornamental Diseases

Dr. Chase will cover a short history of biopesticides used in the greenhouse. The range of biopesticides available for use on greenhouse ornamental diseases will be reviewed including true biologicals, plant extracts and even OMRI-listed coppers will be reviewed including specific results of trials. The modes of action for the biological agents and considerations for incorporating biologicals into a conventional disease management program will complete this presentation.

A.R. Chase, Plant Pathologist, Chase Agricultural Consulting

8:30 am – 10:30 am

Organics and Biocontrol

Moderator: David Eddy

Plant Disease Control: The Organic Toolbox

This informative session will cover the materials you need to understand in a comprehensive organic disease management program. In addition to some useful basics of plant health and the role of stressors in disease development, attendees will learn about mined active ingredients as well as biologicals. We will discuss modes of action and proper handling and use in most specialty crop types. You will leave this session with a great overview of organic pesticide options, their plusses and minuses, and tips on using them efficiently.

Andy Hudson, Ph.D., Senior Research Scientist, Westbridge Agricultural Products

Smart Ways to Attract Natural Predators to Organic Operations

Making sure you take advantage of the natural predators available to help manage pests in your field or orchard is critical in organic production. In this session, you will learn about a variety of tips on to help you attract birds and beneficials, as well as cover in detail which insects are the various predators’ preferred meals. We will also take a look at an increasingly important topic for growers everywhere: how food safety is impacted by attracting these predators to your farm.

Bill Snyder, Professor, Washington State University

Biocontrol, Native Plants, and Local Insect Diversity

Meadowlark Vineyard approaches its organic production not with a new idea, but a forgotten one: enhancing or restoring native flora between the rows of a vineyard to enhance native bio-diversity, including insect diversity, which then function as bio-controls. We will discuss how this approach requires provisions for all life cycle requirements, and how it enhances soil properties and other ecological functions, such as pollinators, to create a long-lasting system of checks and balances.

Robin Dobson, Farmer, Meadowlark Vineyard, Klickitat Canyon Winery

10:30 – 11:00

Break – Visit the Expo

11:00 – 12:00

Ask the Experts

Join prominent experts from this year’s program to ask any remaining questions you have from the past two days of sessions, or dig into new ideas that have been sparked by conversations throughout the event. You’ll have a chance to get more detail on how biocontrol can help with a problem or solution covered in one of this year’s presentations, as well as hear the questions and feedback from your grower peers in this one-of-a-kind session.

Moderator: Richard Jones
1:00 – 5:00

Optional Cannabis Workshop

  Post-Conference Workshop

Cannabis Production: The Biocontrol Basics

Dealing with insects and disease in cannabis is not like pest management in any other crop. In this half-day workshop, following the conclusion of the Biocontrols USA West Conference & Expo, you’ll learn about the tools and techniques you can use to tackle your most pressing pest challenges. 

Many insects love to feed on the plants’ leaves, stems, and roots but as growers, you are very limited in how you can control these problems. Attendees will learn to identify the most common pests found in cannabis. We will focus on not only the different life stages of the pests but also the damage they cause and how to scout for them. In addition, we’ll take a good look at common disease issues in cannabis production. Discussions will include the life cycle of pathogens, along with options for control. 

Management tools from biological control agents to bioinsecticides, biofungicides and cultural practices will be covered throughout the workshop. This will be a very applied session with the management knowledge needs of cannabis growers in mind, providing tools you can take back to your facility and implement right away. 

Suzanne Wainwright-Evans, Buglady Consulting
Matthew Krause, PhD,  Biological Program Manager and Plant Pathologist, BioWorks, Inc.