In an operating environment like production horticulture that is already pushing new levels of sophistication and complexity, it may seem counterintuitive to consider adding another layer of integrated pest management such as biodiversity to the mix. But, in reality, the integration of diversity in the totality of the business environment is nothing new.
Diversity Born From Innovative Thinking
In the early part of the 20th century, specialization of worker roles in manufacturing processes was the genesis of the industrial revolution. Businesses realized new levels of productivity, output, cost efficiencies, and unprecedented operational scalability. Moving forward to mid- and late-century technologies, advances in chemistry and materials science created new alternatives in plastics, acrylics, and other light-weight synthetic materials with comparable strengths to metallics and glass. Electronic and computer technologies created new processes for irrigation and environmental controls. All the while, the innovations pushed the requirement for human management of these new technologies to higher levels of thinking, complexity, and diversity.
Biological Controls — The Next Era
It is no surprise that the next frontier of scientific advancements brings into view the realm of biological systems. Broad-acre food and feed crop production and the growing demand to meet the needs of an ever-increasing world population has benefited greatly from such advancements. More recently within the horticultural production industry, manufacturers and growers have accelerated the creation and adoption of innovative and diverse biological systems. In a far more transparent and social-media driven world, business owners are having to meet customer challenges that address broader social issues of environmental impact, sustainability, and corporate responsibility.
Now, more than ever, biocontrol agents are considered an excellent choice to incorporate in resistance management programs. In doing so, conventional pest management products retain their effectiveness for a longer period of time. By definition, this makes their usefulness more sustainable and successful.
The BASF beneficial nematode brands, Nemasys® and Millenium®, are readily becoming the easy entry point for starting a biocontrol program in a production operation. More recently, the Subtilex® NG brand of Bacillus spp. has expanded the range of biofungicides that effectively manage root-infecting pathogens like Rhizoctonia, Fusarium, and Pythium ultimum. Because of its highly selective target pest activity, Sultan® miticide works to complement releases of predatory mites without adversely affecting these beneficial populations.
BASF maintains a long-term commitment to the development of innovative technologies — both conventional and biological — that help growers achieve efficient and profitable production of the highest quality ornamental plants. We live by our “we create chemistry” motto, which incorporates all the benefits of building stronger working relationships with our customers and the development of diverse, sustainable grower solutions that support their long-term success.
Learn more about BASF professional turf and ornamental innovations at www.betterplants.basf.us.