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How integrated pest management is boosting biopesticide adoption

Biopesticides are experiencing significant market growth due to their increased use in modern farming, either alone, or used in conjunction with other products in integrated pest management (IPM) systems.

The US Environmental Protection Agency defines IPM as follows: “It is an effective and environmentally sensitive approach to pest management that relies on a combination of common-sense practices. IPM programs use current, comprehensive information on the life cycles of pests and their interaction with the environment. This information, in combination with available pest control methods, is used to manage pest damage by the most economical means, and with the least possible hazard to people, property, and the environment.”

The IPM approach can be applied to both agricultural and non-agricultural settings, such as the home, garden, and workplace. LEAF (Linking Environment and Farming) for example is a leading promoter of these practices on UK farms.  

Key drivers of growth include political and societal pressure for greener, safer and more sustainable crop protection technologies; food retailer and consumer demands for low or no residues on food crops; an increasingly tough regulatory climate for chemical products; resistance development to existing conventional chemical pesticides as described earlier, and a lack of novel chemistry to deal with these challenges.

Biologicals can offer effective solutions to many of these issues through multiple and novel modes of action to combat pest resistance; reduced residues on food crops; greater worker safety and flexibility, along with reduced regulatory costs and timelines. Additionally, technology advancements have improved product efficacy and reliability and increased confidence among growers and input suppliers.

As a result, the biopesticide market has shown remarkable growth over the last 15 years. In 2003 global biopesticide sales were a niche at just US$0.6 billion, today they are at US$3 billion, and sales are projected to reach US$11 billion by 2025. With a Compound Annual Growth Rate (CAGR) of 16-17%, it is now the fastest growing crop protection market sector, and at least double that of the conventional chemical pesticide sector.

North America and Europe together account for two thirds of the total market value, but Latin America is the fastest growing region and seems set to overtake Asia Pacific as the third largest regional market by 2025.

Hybrids

The prime markets for microbial biopesticides (single cell microscopic organisms – including bacteria, fungi, viruses, protozoans and yeasts), typically remain intensively cultivated, high value crops where pesticide resistance problems have occurred and there is a strong demand for pest control products that combine an excellent human and environmental safety profile with the ability to deliver produce free from pesticide residues. But use is also growing in row crops, such as rice and potatoes. 

The fastest growing segment is seed treatments where microbials can be used alone or in combination with conventional chemistry to improve seedling emergence, stand establishment, vigour and pest control.

This new generation of ‘hybrid’ products is set to be a real game-changer by combining reduced impact with added value in terms of efficacy, spectrum and crop quality.

The value and growth rate of different product categories varies by region but overall, microbials constitute the largest and most rapidly growing segment and are expected to make up almost 60% of the global biopesticides market by 2025. 

New advances in formulation and application technology improve field performance of biopesticide products and enable co-packs and premixed formulations that deliver additional benefits. Hybrid examples include:

  • Poncho/Votivo – a seed treatment premix from Bayer for soil insect and nematode management which combines clothianidin with Bacillus firmus.
  • ETHOS XB – an in-furrow premix for seedling insect and disease management from FMC combines bifenthrin and Bacillus amyloliquifaciens.
  • REGEV - a foliar fungicide from STK (formerly Stockton Group) that combines difenaconazole and tea tree oil for improved efficacy and resistance management. It was launched in 2017 and is now available for growers in Guatemala and other countries in Latin America such as Peru, for use on coffee for rust, as well as peanuts, rice, and soybeans. The product development focus here is particularly on plant extracts.
  • Xanthion – an in-furrow co-pack of pyraclostrobin and B.subtilis from BASF for early season disease control.

The Global Biopesticides Regulations 2018 report, produced by IEG Policy’s sister website Agrow, is now available to order from the Informa Agribusiness Intelligence Store. For further information and to purchase your copy, follow this link. You can also download a sample copy of the report by following this link.

If you would like a free trial of Agrow, or any other Informa Agribusiness Intelligence product, please contact the customer support team. 

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