Biological Products Finding More Demand

Biological Products Industry Alliance Growing Rapidly

By Patrick Cavanaugh, Editor

The Biological Products Industry Alliance (BPIA) was started 16 years ago for only five biopesticide member companies. Now there are 129 member companies and membership ranges from manufacturers of biopesticides and biostimulants to service providers, marketers, distributors, and anybody who touches this industry.

Keith Jones is executive director of the BPIA. He said during a recent meeting in Rochester, NY, that the alliance is growing.

“The running theme for the event was the growth of our association, the growth of the industry, and much of that is driven by consumer demand, regulatory pressures, and just a real move towards a sustainable future in agriculture and other markets where biological products are used,” Jones explained.

Biological products got their start in commercial agriculture, such as fruits and vegetables but have grown in demand by other markets like golf courses and ornamental operations. Among the earliest biologicals used in production agriculture are B.t. products.

“For a variety of reasons, some traditional chemistries are losing efficacy because of pests developing resistance,” Jones said. “Biologicals can be helpful with that. They don’t replace traditional chemistries, but they can actually extend the life of traditional chemistries.”

Biologicals are all part of integrated pest management and can be used during different parts of the production season, where conventional products are not labeled for use.

Biologicals can be used at the onset of a growing season and when getting close to harvest, because there are less or no pre-harvest intervals.

“What’s great about biologicals is that most of them have multiple modes of action, so it’s very hard for the pests to become resistant to that,” said Jones, adding that, “There are many benefits of biologicals, and their acceptance is growing rapidly.”

Jones said that biological products don’t replace traditional chemistries, but they can actually extend the life of traditional chemistries.

BPIA Executive Director Talks Biological Products

Biological Product Industry Meets in Orlando

By Patrick Cavanaugh, Farm News Director

Nearly 200 individuals from the worldwide biological products industry were in Orlando this week for the Fall 2017 semi-annual meeting of the Biological Products Industry Alliance (BPIA).

The two-day meeting featured experts from the EPA, USDA, universities, major U.S.companies such as Nestlé’s and Coca Cola, and others involved in the biological products industry.

BPIA is made up of manufacturers of bio-pesticides, which control pest and diseases, as well as bio-stimulants, which boost the natural defense of plants in the agriculture.

“We’re also marketers, distributors, service providers, anyone who touches the biological industry as we define it,” said Keith Jones, Executive Director of the BPIA.

“There has been tremendous growth in the association,” Jones said. “When I came on board two years ago we were 85 member companies. As I sit here today, we’re 122 member companies, and our companies range from very small, sole proprietors – a couple of folks at some innovative, new technologies – all the way up to the largest agrochemical companies in the world.”

Some biological products, such as B.ts., have been around for more than 50 years, while others, along with bio-stimulants, are very new and innovative. Some aren’t even on the market yet, but many are making their way to market.

“There’s two big drivers for biological,” Jones said. “One is consumer demand. And really, if you look to Europe, they’re about five years ahead of us.”

“The other driver is increased regulatory pressure. Again, Europe is about five years ahead of us. They’re really ratcheting down on a lot of the traditional tools that were available to growers. They’re going away in Europe. I think here in the U.S., you may see some of that as well.”

Jones noted that the BPIA is a big believer in integrated pest management, IPM.

“We never say that biological are the silver bullet. They’re not. They’re most effective when they’re used in conjunction with traditional chemistries,” Jones said.

“The worst time to start a biological is when you’re having a major problem. The best time is to start early. They’re so effective as preventative. They’re really good in tank mixes, used in combination, because they’ll extend the life of traditional chemicals,” Jones said.

Most biologicals have multiple modes of action, so they help with pest resistance.

“They don’t build up the resistance in the same way that they might to a traditional, but by using them together, you can extend the life of that traditional chemistry,” Jones explained.

BioSafe Systems Offers Biological Control Products

BioCeres Beneficial Fungi Kills Important Pests

By Patrick Cavanaugh, Farm News Director

California Ag Today recently interviewed Jay Sughroue, Ph.D. with BioSafe Systems about the new BioCeres WP Biological Pesticide.

BioCeres is new strain of the fungi Beauveria basiana discovered in Italy in 1815. There was a sharp decline in silkworm production and the entomologist back then, Antonio Basiana, discovered  the fungi  that was responsible for white muscarsdine disease causing the decline of silkworm production.

“The new strain, ANT-03, is different from commercially available strains is that it’s more aggressive and more resilient, so it lasts longer in the environment. And it’s more pathogenic when it comes in contact with insects that you want to control,” Sughroue said.

“Fast forward several decades, and now, we have commercially available products that are controlling very important agronomic pests, such as thrips, aphids and white flies,” Sughroue said.

Sughroue noted that it’s important to follow important application strategies.

“You want to apply this prior to high population development. It’s not a knockdown, so you want to be out there scouting fields. As soon as you start to see numbers that are indicative of causing damage, you want to start a spray program that contains BioCeres, and then after about 5 to 7 days, you’ll start to see the pests decline in population.”

The fungi spore germination is the key to the effectiveness.

“The spore lands onto an insect. It doesn’t matter if it’s an egg, a nymph, a larva or an adult. It starts to germinate, and through enzymatic activity and mechanical pressure, it grows inside the insect, and it will start to sporulate so the insects come down with a severe case of the flu. They stop feeding immediately.

Sughroue said while it takes about 3 to 5 days for the pest to die, it stops feeding very soon after the spore germinates inside them.

Sugroue said the list of the pests will only become larger as time goes by

“We’re going to expanding that list to include other important insects, but this is the first generation of this product,” he said.