Challenges and solutions with Biorationals in the field
- From political, retail and consumer perspectives there is a clear push to make all sectors of food production less dependent on conventional chemical crop protection products. Great progress has been made in the use of Biorational products in protected cropping for ornamentals, fruit and vegetables but there remains considerable discrepancy between the political demands and the practical realities at this moment in field crops. The struggle will not be to find new Biorational products, but to make them consistently effective in the field. Biorationals are defined by Certis Europe s ‘registered plant protection products generally derived from the natural environment, offering improved benefits for plants, people and the planet, which are increasingly important factors for Integrated Crop Production to satisfy requirements of the value chain and consumers’. They have mostly no residue issues as the active ingredients are naturally occurring substances degrading rapidly. Because of this feature Biorationals are also used in organic production and form the basis for Integrated Pest Management crop programs. Biorationals are generally nicely compatible with the use of beneficial arthropods as a tool to manage pests, having mostly no impact or minimal impact on pollinators, predators and parasitoids of the most important pests. Importantly they also pose a lower risk than conventional products to workers applying them, to bystanders and to consumers of the end produce. In fact their environmental profile is significantly better overall and a further significant advantage is that there is a low risk of resistance development with Biorational products. Their use is therefore strongly favoured by growers and produce buyers alike.