Biopesticides field trials in broad acre crops in UK are well underway. Research, begun in 2014, has resulted in refinements to the delivery system in field ready for the next phase of monitoring using strains of a fungus to kill major insect problems in pulses in the 2017 growing season.
Demand for biopesticide solutions
Rising to the challenge of finding more strategic, targeted and effective methods to control key pests such as pea and bean weevil and bruchid beetle, it is not surprising that the UK pulse sector is looking to real integrated pest management and investigating biopesticide solutions.
Currently the main insecticides available to UK pulse growers are pyrethroids for which there are worrying signs of partial resistance developing in both pea and bean weevil populations.
Lure and kill
Reporting in the latest issue of Pulse magazine, PGRO Senior Technical Officer Mark White describes the project that is using a novel ‘lure and kill’ system. The pests are attracted into an inoculation station where they are dusted in a electrostatic powder of spores of fungus Beauveria bassiana. They then fatally infect other beetles.
REAL IPM UK director Antony Pearce commented “PGRO is working hard to model and monitor pest thresholds while communicating these predictions to growers. This, and biopesticides field trials, are an important step in integrated pest management. Lure and kill systems when combined with threshold monitoring, offers the potential to complement natural predators, which often struggle to match the speed of pest population growth during the growing season.”
The ‘Lure and kill technology to manage beetle pests of field peas and beans’ project is co-funded by Innovate UK, PGRO, Exosect Ltd, BASF plc and Oecos together with academic partner Rothamsted Research and sub contractor Velcourt Ltd under the Agri-Tech Catalyst funding scheme.