Thursday 21 July.

Last month the Ornamental cluster of the IPDM network visited Worcestershire based hardy nursery stock producer Bransford Webbs.Led by ADAS consultant and key nursery staff the visit enabled attendees to witness the principles and practical application of IPDM on a large commercial nursery.

This study visit demonstrated that despite reductions in the availability of conventional plant protection products (e.g., insecticides and fungicides) in recent years, good quality crops can still be produced.Cultural controls, biological controls and Bioprotectants are used very successfully as a first line of defence at Bransford Webbs and generally work well to prevent pests and diseases becoming a problem. As a result, a significant percentage of the nurseries expenditure on crop protection is on biological controls and bioprotectants these days.

Topics covered included:

  • Producing crops in the most appropriate environment (e.g., some liners perform much better under tunnels / outside than under glass particularly in summer) which has helped to minimise both problems and losses. Crop monitoring, the prevention and management of pest and diseases.
  • Ensuring that irrigation water abstracted from rivers is treated and managed to control water borne pathogens such as Phytophthora prior to water being used for irrigation.
  • Bought in plant health checks to identify any pests or diseases on bought in young plants.Early identification helps to ensure that controls can be implemented swiftly before problems spread within the nursery.
  • Biological controls, focusing on key summer pests such as thrips; automation of predator application, trials using different predatory mites, monitoring populations of pests and predators to achieve control through proactive corrective applications where necessary.In some cases, corrective applications of conventional pesticides are required.
  • The use of side effects databases that are available on the main biological control suppliers’ websites to quantify the impact of pesticide applications on biological controls as a decision-making aid.
  • The use of wildflowers between glasshouses as an alternative to mown grass; resulting in increased numbers of naturally occurring predators such as hoverflies within adjacent crops.
  • The transition to peat reduced / peat free media and the management of reduced peat and peat free mixes for best results.
  • The use of key bioprotectants such as Serenade ASO, Fytosave, AmyloX and Romeo to help prevent foliar diseases and reduce reliance on remaining authorised conventional fungicides.

Tyfu Cymru’s Ornamentals IPDM network was set up to help train and support those looking to increase their use of Bioprotectants.The group shared their experiences of an integrated approach with the host growers which encouraged peer to peer learning.