Last year, a series of observation trials were conducted as part of an AHDB funded five-year AMBER project to identify management practices that growers could use to improve the performance of biopesticide products within IPDM.
The trials highlighted several opportunities to improve biopesticide performance through changes to application practices, including quantity of product used, quantity of water, target location within the crop and other environmental parameters that could influence performance.
University of Warwick principal research fellow David Chandler said: "It was clear that there was a lack of understanding about how biopesticide efficacy is affected by factors such as population sizes of pests and diseases, environmental factors such as exposure to UVA and B and water volumes."
He suggested: "More information needs to be given to growers on how to apply biopesticides in practical situations. This could be done through modifications to improve labeling."
A survey conducted as part of AMBER also found that growers perceived biopesticides to be unreliable.
AHDB crop protection senior scientist Joe Martin said: "We believe this could be in part as a result of incorrect applications. We need to make sure growers are provided with as much knowledge as possible about the optimum conditions required for good performance of each biopesticide in order to identify potential improvements in application."
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AHDB knowledge exchange manager Gracie Emeny added: "A key part of AMBER will be sharing knowledge and experience from trials with growers and the industry to improve best practice guidelines."
AMBER trials will now focus on developing practices that optimise biopesticide performance and will be tested on commercial nurseries. Growers can keep track of these at the Amber Project website, hosted by Warwick Crop Centre.
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