Prof. Alison Stewart, FAR
New Zealand growers are facing increasing challenges associated with the use of pesticides due to the development of resistance to several key chemical groups, more stringent residue and food safety regulations and low numbers of new chemical registrations. These factors, combined with increasing consumer demand for food produced in a more environmentally sustainable manner, in particular with minimal inputs of synthetic fertilisers and pesticides, make it clear that growers need to consider
integrating other pest control options into their production system.
Biopesticides may provide a viable alternative to synthetic pesticides, allowing growers to control key pests and diseases, maintain crop yields and deliver a better environmental footprint. This presentation will explain what biopesticides are and how they differ from other biological products such as biostimulants and biofertilisers, and highlight their value in an integrated crop management system.
Products that are currently available in New Zealand and may be suitable for use in arable systems will be discussed, along with others that have been developed overseas. A key challenge for growers will be to understand how best to use biological based products since they do not deliver the curative knockdown effect seen with most synthetic pesticides. Achieving the best performance from biopesticides will require a greater understanding of the biology of the crop/pest interaction and the mode of action of the biopesticide product.