The Tipping Point With Biocontrols [Opinion]

Richard Jones

We’ve heard a lot of growers talking about biocontrols in the last few months. The phrases, “We’re already using biologicals,” or, “We’re not using them now, but we know it’s something we need to be looking at” have come up so often, we decided to dig further into the trend with this month’s special Biocontrols Report.

The number of people considering biocontrols surprised me a bit. It’s not that this is really new stuff or that we haven’t already seen growers having success with the technology. It’s just that until recently, buy-in on the idea of entrusting your high-value crop to bugs and microbes has been, well, less than overwhelming.

So why, all of a sudden, are people giving biological controls a closer look?

In talking with growers for this report, the environmentally and employee-friendly angle popped up often, but it didn’t seem to be the main reason. Costs and simplicity certainly aren’t obvious advantages to biocontrols, particularly to someone who’s never tried it before.

It seemed to me the biggest driver is that growers are looking more and more for new tools to add to their pest control kits. Resistance to commonly used materials is a very real problem. Having an alternative that helps extend the life of valuable chemicals — and at the same time offers additional tangible benefits — makes biologicals worth exploring.

Know When The Time Is Right

So, are biocontrols going to be the next big thing for 2013?

The ultimate adoption of any technology doesn’t happen overnight. Growth typically starts slowly, with a few cutting-edge experimenters. If there are some obvious benefits for those early adopters, others begin trying it out. Eventually, you reach a tipping point where it seems like almost everyone is jumping on the bandwagon simultaneously.

Just think about some relatively recent examples: The Internet. Social media. Smartphones. Most of us eyed these developments a little warily at first. But when the benefits started to become apparent, more people joined in. Today, if you’re not using tools like these in your business or in your personal life, you’re most decidedly on the outside looking in at everyone else.

We haven’t reached that tipping point with biocontrols quite yet. To be honest, we may never get there. The common, wide-scale adoption of biologicals by the majority of growers is still off on the horizon.

This isn’t the silver-bullet pest control method we’d all like to have. But it does
appear to be a viable alternative for many crops and many growers. And it comes with a pretty darn good marketing message for sustainability-minded retail and consumer customers. At this point, biocontrol is at least worth a look. Nobody wants to be the last one on the bandwagon.

Leave a Reply

More From Grow Initiative...
customer-base

September 21, 2016

6 Creative Ways To Expand Your Business

Marketing experts offer tips to help you catch the attention of new customers and grow your business.

Read More
America In Bloom Project

August 29, 2016

Your Chance To Help America In Bloom As It Celebrates Its 15th Anniversary

America In Bloom is launching a fundraising campaign to help the group continue its mission of creating beautiful and vibrant communities across the country.

Read More
Next Generation

August 27, 2016

Australia Launches Initiative To Ignite A New Generation Of Growers

Hort Innovation Chief Executive John Lloyd says the goal is to identify and build future industry leaders at all stages of their career through investment in a host of new initiatives.

Read More
Latest Stories
customer-base

September 21, 2016

6 Creative Ways To Expand Your Business

Marketing experts offer tips to help you catch the attention of new customers and grow your business.

Read More
America In Bloom Project

August 29, 2016

Your Chance To Help America In Bloom As It Celebrates I…

America In Bloom is launching a fundraising campaign to help the group continue its mission of creating beautiful and vibrant communities across the country.

Read More
Next Generation

August 27, 2016

Australia Launches Initiative To Ignite A New Generatio…

Hort Innovation Chief Executive John Lloyd says the goal is to identify and build future industry leaders at all stages of their career through investment in a host of new initiatives.

Read More
Albert Grimm, Jefferys Greenhouses

August 25, 2016

7 Ways Albert Grimm Strives To Be An Effective Leader

Grimm, Greenhouse Grower's 2016 Head Grower Of The Year, tries to live by the "Seven Habits Of Highly Effective People” from author Stephen R. Covey.

Read More
LuxFlora - feature

August 22, 2016

Check Out Luxflora’s International Adventures In Europe

A new, women-led professional organization provides its members the opportunity to gain insight, develop ideas, and build connections on its annual international trip.

Read More
Echinacea ‘Butterfly Rainbow Marcella’

August 12, 2016

IR-4 Project Receives Federal Funding For Pollinator An…

Grants from the Specialty Crop Research Initiative will fund IR-4 projects on protecting pollinators through ornamental horticulture, and downy mildew management strategies.

Read More
Emily Teng

August 11, 2016

American Floral Endowment Announces Its 2016 Scholarshi…

This year, thanks to the generosity of several donors, AFE awarded more than $35,000 to 17 students pursuing careers in horticulture.

Read More
Josh Henry, North Carolina State University

August 8, 2016

Get To Know Joshua Henry, Winner Of The 2016 Richard T.…

Henry, a graduate student at North Carolina State University, is pursuing a Master’s degree in horticultural sciences, with a focus on crop nutrition in bedding plants and flowering potted plants.

Read More
Workers

July 23, 2016

5 Reasons To Invest In Employee Training

Training and developing your employees is critical to the future success of your organization and the horticulture industry at large. Here are five reasons why your employees are worth the effort.

Read More
BeeSmart

July 21, 2016

How You Can Get Involved In Research

The Horticultural Research Institute (HRI) supports scientific research and students for the advancement of the horticultural industry.

Read More

July 9, 2016

Market The Experience Of Gardening, Minus The Fuss

Greenhouse Grower editor Laura Drotleff says the industry should promote plants and gardening in bite-size chunks that help consumers build skills.

Read More
Grower Education

July 7, 2016

Two Industry Veterans Discuss How To Meet The Challenge…

Two industry players have a conversation on how we can deliver the level of grower education needed to address complex issues associated with production practices and pest management strategies.

Read More
'Violets Pride' from Week's Roses Downton Abbey Garden Rose Collection

July 6, 2016

6 Key Insights From The Generations Of Flowers Study

Being local and offering expert recommendations are hidden opportunities in the floral business. This was one of six insights during a recent webinar analyzing the Generations of Flowers study from the Society of American Florists and the American Floral Endowment.

Read More
Sakata Birthday Cake Feature

May 28, 2016

10 Creative Marketing Ideas From 2016 California Spring…

Grower-retailers often look to breeders for ideas on how to increase plant sales with smart marketing plans. The California Spring Trials were filled with great concepts to reach customers.

Read More
HGTV_2015CAST

April 24, 2016

9 Business Predictions Smart Brands Should Pay Attentio…

Andreas von der Heydt, Director of Kindle at Amazon, recently predicted what smart businesses will do in 2016 to strengthen their brands and promote their products.

Read More
Lin Schmale 1996

April 23, 2016

SAF’s Lin Schmale Offers Lessons From An Industry…

Schmale represented the floriculture industry on Capitol Hill for more than 20 years. The advocate has recently retired, and shares some valuable insights from her career.

Read More
An Edible Evening At Stephen F Austin

April 11, 2016

How The Greenhouse Industry Can Propagate Gardeners The…

Jared Barnes at Stephen F. Austin University says we are the experts at propagating plants. That’s knowledge we can put to good use to envision how to attract new gardeners and future horticulturists to the industry.

Read More
Congressional Action Days 2016

April 5, 2016

Floral Industry Leaders Make Progress And (In Some Case…

Nearly 90 floral industry members gathered in the nation’s capital in March to meet with lawmakers in the annual event coordinated by the Society of American Florists.

Read More
[gravityform id="35" title="false" description="false"]