Greenhouse Growers Invited to Get the Lowdown on Biocontrols

Biocontrols West 2017 Trade ShowIf you haven’t signed up for the Biocontrols USA East Conference & Expo, and you’re using biocontrols or plan to, you need to check out the lineup for the event, Oct. 10-12 in Rochester, NY. The event is a must-attend for specialty crops growers focused on integrated pest management.

Tour Western New York’s Ag Scene

Biocontrols USA East Conference & Expo kicks off October 10 with a day-long tour providing firsthand examples of how some of Western New York’s top fruit, vegetable, and greenhouse growers are successfully putting biocontrol to work in both conventional and organic operations. The tour starts at Intergrow Greenhouses, an expansive greenhouse tomato producer in Albion, NY, that relies on integrated pest management using beneficials, biological control agents, and biopesticide products to control pests in its controlled environment. Next, tour goers will see how biocontrols are used in an ornamental grower-retailer setting at Broccolo Garden Center.


From there, the tour will visit both of the regional grocery retailer Wegman’s corporate farms, highlighting the use of integrated pest management (IPM) in production. At Cornell University’s AgriTech in Geneva, NY, tour-goers will get a chance to see promising research on biological fire bight and summer disease controls in apples, as well as biocontrol research in vegetables. The tour day wraps up with a stop at Hermann J. Wiemer Vineyards in Dundee, NY, to learn about site-specific winegrape production using biological and organic materials and sustainable cultural practices.

Learn What the Market is Demanding, and How to Apply Biocontrols

The two-day conference starts October 11 with a general session beginning with a keynote address from the retailer’s perspective – “Why Wegmans’ Partners Use Softer Chemistries” by David Corsi, Wegmans’ Vice President of Produce & Floral Merchandising. Corsi will be joined by Mike Kreher, a Partner at Kreher Family Farms, and Kelsey Neppel, an Agromist and Pest Control Adviser with Duncan Family Farms.

Next up is an instructive and real-world crash course by Matthew Krause, BioWorks’ Biological Program Manager, and Lida Sladkova, Trial Manager of Research and Development for Metrolina Greenhouses. The pair will offer firsthand knowledge and guidance on the best steps you can take to design a useful trial at your operation, and understand and apply the results from your data.

After a visit to the Expo, where you can talk with suppliers that provide biological solutions for your crops, you’ll learn about all the newest products coming on the market in another general session.

Breakout Sessions Offer Practical, Applicable Knowledge

The afternoon’s program breaks out into two concurrent tracks, including Protected Production for growers of crops in controlled environments.

In this track, you’ll learn “How to Build a Standing Army of Natural Enemies to Protect Your Greenhouse Crops” by Dr. Amir Grosman of BioBee. Grosman will review different methods of early establishment on edible and non-edible crops, focusing on systems that are currently available on the market.

Paul Koole of Biobest USA will provide a practical approach to help you “Calculate the Cost of Your IPM Program.” You’ll learn all the factors you should include in calculating the cost of pest control to determine the true costs and benefits of IPM, to ensure you’re making the most effective and profitable decisions for your operation.

Rinsing out cutting dip tub

One very effective way to control pests early is through the use of cutting dips. This approach has potential for many ornamental crops that are started from cuttings.

You’ll also find out why it’s so important to have “Inventory Management Strategies for Biological Pest Control.” Ronald Valentin of Bioline will explain how the increasing demand for biological products across all of specialty agriculture, and especially among newer emerging crops like cannabis and protected agriculture, requires more planning and advanced ordering to allow insectaries and suppliers to produce the necessary supply.

Vegetable producers can also learn from the afternoon Vegetables track, which includes an organic grower’s perspective on using biocontrols, and how to successfully control pests and diseases on tomatoes and cucurbits.

The Greenhouse Ornamentals Track the morning of October 12 will offer practical takeaways from some current research, as well as a look at the future and how new technology will change crop protection for both ornamental growers and indoor growers of edible crops.

Dr. Michael Brownbridge of Vineland Research and Innovation Centre will show how dipping cuttings in biopesticides will offer growers a higher likelihood of success in “Protecting Your Cuttings: A Dip in the System.”

Buglady Consulting’s Suzanne Wainwright-Evans will school you on “How to Get the Most Out of Your Microbial Biopesticides,” taking a look at the active ingredients on the market for greenhouse production of edible and non-edible crops, and how they can be used to ensure efficacy.

Interested in technology? In Dr. Christian Nansen’s talk on “Machine Learning, Drones, and Natural Enemies: The Next Step in Protecting Your Crop,” learn about how university research being done with drones and machine vision and their potential for precision application of crop protection inputs like biocontrols will allow you to significantly increase performance and economic feasibility of using natural enemies.

Biostimulants, a Bug Workshop, and the Expo Wrap Up the Day

In the last half of the day on October 12, learn about the emerging science of “Biostimulants and What You Need to Know” about this next wave of biological tools that growers are using to produce quality crops from Jeff Alicandro of agr.  assistance and Dr. Neil Mattson of Cornell University.

Walk and talk through the Expo to visit a host of knowledgeable suppliers who can help you select the best tools for your operation, whether you’re a biocontrols novice or looking to broaden your IPM program with the next great thing.

Learn more about the agenda on the Biocontrols USA East Conference & Expo website and don’t wait to register and make your travel arrangements to Rochester, NY. The tour and workshop are selling out fast.