Biocontrols guide set for Fruit Focus launch

Principles and practices of using biological controls on soft fruit set out in new guide for growers.

The Horticultural Development Company (HDC) will use next week's Fruit Focus event to launch a guide on using biological controls in soft fruit.

Biocontrol in Soft Fruit - A Grower Guide was co-written by Robert Irving and Jude Bennison of research body ADAS along with fruit entomologist Roger Umpelby.

The publication explains the principles and practices of biocontrol, which agents to use for key soft-fruit pests and how to look after them and make them work successfully. It also looks at how to encourage naturally occurring predatory insects to complement biocontrols.

"The industry has never before had such a comprehensive reference guide on how to make a success of biocontrol on commercial soft-fruit farms," said HDC knowledge transfer manager Scott Raffle. "It also explains how they are produced."

HDC soft-fruit panel chairman and grower Harriet Duncalfe added: "The industry has long been in need of a good reference guide to improve the success of biological control in soft fruit crops."

The lavishly-illustrated 48-page booklet will be sent to HDC levy payers.

Integrated approach - Controlling thrips

Integrated pest management is an increasingly viable alternative for soft-fruit growers, according to BCP Certis, which will show its range at Fruit Focus.

"Drivers for this change in approach include overcoming pest issues such as thrip control in strawberries," said sales manager Simon Jones. "Due to resistance to certain chemical controls, this has become a serious issue for producers over the past two seasons."

See Horticulture Week's Pest & Disease Factsheet - Thrips

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