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Advancing Biocontrols

Advancing Biocontrols

As a trade magazine covering the cotton industry, it’s always been our duty to see products, services and trends through the eyes of our audience.

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One of the most critical subjects we cover is new products, especially those which require a substantial reworking, or rethinking, of existing practices. An example coming on fast is the addition of 2,4-D- and dicamba-tolerant crops, a subject that we’ve been discussing ad nauseam, but for good reason. The service and liability considerations are enormous for those who aren’t fully engaged with the issues.

Another product and practice issue coming down the road is the incorporation of biological control products in crop production regimens. Many of you have, in recent years of high prosperity for growers, put some of these products out in field trials to gauge their efficacy and to determine if they might make a measurable impact on yield.

We’ve been watching them, too, interacting with all of you, as well as manufacturers and researchers to weigh up the challenges and potential benefits of what we’re terming “biocontrols.”

Way back in my formative days covering the turf and landscape market for a different magazine, one of my beats was covering new pesticide development. My experience then was that biocontrol products were, in general, poorly researched, overhyped and underperforming. Many start-up companies came with guns blazing, promising unattainable performance while leaving a trail of unhappy customers and a deep market stigma that today’s biocontrol companies still must fight to escape.

Biocontrols deserve consideration in 2015 because the manufacturers “get it.” They understand that products can’t drop from the sky and become a preeminent force in a market. Growers and, just as importantly, their trusted advisers, must understand the product thoroughly and have tested it for themselves.

Products must also fit within an existing cropping regimen. Biocontrol manufacturers are actively looking at ways that products deliver a complementary benefit within a system, such as pest resistance management.

Recent moves by some of the big six basic manufacturers to acquire companies and products in the biocontrol space only further legitimizes this market, so it’s important for retailers to gain a better understanding of the products and companies working in the space.

Our parent company, Meister Media Worldwide, is working with the Biopesticide Industry Alliance (BPIA) on a new Biocontrols Conference and Tradeshow, March 3-5 in Fresno, CA. The sessions are designed to provide an overview of the biocontrols market, but the opportunity to network with a broad swath of the current biocontrols market should prove valuable.

For a full agenda and information on how to register, visit www.BioControlsConference.com.