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UK: New £1.1 million R&D call to improve biopesticide performance for protected and ornamental crops

A substantial investment into research that will improve the performance of biopesticide products for use in protected edible and ornamental crops has been launched by AHDB Horticulture (formerly HDC).

The call for proposals will see £1.15 million invested over five years, directly tackling the needs of growers. The resulting research will aim to improve control of commercially impacting pest and diseases through effective integrated use of biopesticide products.

Integrated crop protection, including the use of biopesticides, is common place in commercially produced protected crops. As such this new call for proposals is being fully supported by AHDB Horticulture’s Hardy Nursery Stock, Protected Edible and Protected Ornamentals industry Panels, with the successful proposal expected to centre on proactive industry liaison. The ambition is to also include work packages that address effective use of these products on outdoor ornamental crops.

Despite being strong adopters of an integrated crop protection approach, growers of protected crops have still felt the impact of losing conventional active ingredients, and with a high dependence on macrobiologicals, understanding how products will control pest or disease targets and how they interact with the wider crop protection plan has become vitally important.

It is expected that a key component of the successful research project will be a robust plan of knowledge exchange where dynamic interaction between the project team, growers and suppliers of products will be fundamental to delivering improvements in how these products are used for commercial crop production.

Debbie Wilson, Research and Knowledge Exchange Manager for AHDB Horticulture said, “An ongoing exercise undertaken by AHDB Horticulture to document currently used commercial crop protection programmes confirms that growers are using biopesticides and there are clear opportunities to assist with this progress. With this funding we hope to not only achieve a better tool kit of products, but also have mechanisms in place to raise awareness with growers on what to use, when and how for greatest effect.”

“This is the first time that AHDB Horticulture has invested so heavily in the area of ‘bio-controls’ and we are looking for ambitious, effective and impacting proposals that will demonstrate genuine results for our industries.”

The total budget for the projects equates to £1,150,000 over 5 years, with £100K per annum being spent by the Protected Edible and Mushroom Panel, £70k by the Hardy Nursery Stock Panel and £60K from the Protected Ornamental and Bulbs Panel. The deadline for all proposals is 12:00 (midday) on 17th September 2015. To see the full Invitation to Tender click here.
For more information on AHDB Horticulture visit

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