Tyfu Cymru working with ADAS have identified that the availability of conventional plant protection products (e.g., insecticides and fungicides) for use in horticultural crops has declined in recent years, this trend that is set to continue. The use of biological control using introduced predatory insects for the control of pests is well established within many sectors of the horticultural industry. Some Ornamental growers have successfully embraced the use of biological controls however some are still investigating how conventional plant protection products (pesticides) can be successfully used with biological controls within integrated pest management (IPM) systems.

When bioprotectants are used properly within an IPM system they can help to create effective and sustainable crop protection programmes with a reduced reliance on conventional plant protection products. If not used properly, results with bioprotectants may be disappointing which can be a barrier to uptake.

Tyfu Cymru’s Bioprotectant Support Network will look to provide training on the recognition of pest, diseases and beneficial insects and will help growers to determine current pest and disease pressures and the need for their prevention and control.

In addition a broad spectrum IPM spray programme for disease prevention and control utilising bioprotectants alongside conventional fungicides will be provided for Welsh ornamental growers for the 2021 growing season. Individual growers within the Tyfu Cymru ornamental network can utilise support from independent ADAS consultants to create bespoke control programmes for their crops. Alongside, this approach will be supported technically with monthly Zoom meetings to discuss the integration of fungicides, biological controls, and any other crop protection inputs. This will also support peer to peer learning enabling success stories to be shared and challenges to be solved collectively.

Topics for discussion will include.

  • Understanding the pests associated with the crops being grown.
  • Understanding the needs of the Biological pest control agents
  • Encouraging beneficial insects from the locality
  • Optimum conditions for the control agents being introduced.
  • Knowing when and how to act
  • Record information – to gain an understanding of the performance of previous programmes.

ADAS will support growers within the network individually as the need arises to help maximise grower participation whilst helping growers to make the best possible management decisions for their crops. A WhatsApp group will be set up to help develop the Bioprotectant support network, facilitating knowledge sharing whilst providing further support for Welsh growers.

An IPM programme approach to reduce the use of pesticides is also likely to benefit pollinators. This program will help support those who are growing to the standards to meet the National Botanic Garden of Wales - Growing the future - Saving Pollinators Assurance Scheme.

If you are interested in joining the Bioprotectant Support Network, please email sarah.dummett@lantra.co.uk