The call for proposals will see £1.15 million spent over five years. The resulting research will aim to improve control of commercially impacting pest and diseases through integrated use of biopesticide products.
This new call for proposals is being supported by AHDB Horticulture’s Hardy Nursery Stock, Protected Edible and Protected Ornamentals industry Panels, with the successful proposal "expected to centre on proactive industry liaison". The ambition is to also include work packages that address use of these products on outdoor ornamental crops.
Growers of protected crops have felt the impact of losing conventional active ingredients, and with a high dependence on macrobiologicals, understanding how products will control pest or disease targets and how they interact with the wider crop protection plan has become vitally important, says AHDB.
The successful research project will include a robust plan of knowledge exchange where interaction between the project team, growers and suppliers of products will be fundamental to delivering improvements in how these products are used for commercial crop production.
AHDB research and knowledge exchange manager Debbie Wilson said: "An ongoing exercise undertaken by AHDB Horticulture to document currently used commercial crop protection programmes confirms that growers are using biopesticides and there are clear opportunities to assist with this progress. With this funding we hope to not only achieve a better tool kit of products, but also have mechanisms in place to raise awareness with growers on what to use, when and how for greatest effect.
"This is the first time that AHDB Horticulture has invested so heavily in the area of ‘bio-controls’ and we are looking for ambitious, effective and impacting proposals that will demonstrate genuine results for our industries."
The total budget for the projects equates to £1,150,000 over five years, with £100,000 per annum being spent by the Protected Edible and Mushroom Panel, £70,000 by the Hardy Nursery Stock Panel and £60,000 from the Protected Ornamental and Bulbs Panel. The deadline for all proposals is 17 September.