The use of biologicals are increasing, and that’s in part to organic production growth, but not entirely. More producers are using products like biofertilizers, biopesticides, and biostimulants. These products are viewed as ‘sustainable’ as they tend to be lighter on the environment. That growth seems to be directly tied to organic production. “That is true. Increasing organic acreage is one of the main reasons,” University of California Cooperative Extension Advisor Surendra Dara said.
Dara has been researching biologicals for some time and says although more organic acres means more use of bio-products, he is hearing about conventional growers using them as well. “I also hear from some of the companies that their products are used in conventional systems more frequently than before,” he said. “There is definitely a growth in conventional systems too, but not to the same extent as organic systems.”
For some of the products such as biopesticides, Dara said they could be another tool for producers, “if we are looking at products that control pest and diseases than it’s a part of their integrated pest management model.” Dara added however that others are stand-alone plant enhancements, “If you are looking at biofertilizers and soil amendments it is in the whole production system both for economic purposes and crop protection.”
Dara added that the products need more adoption from conventional producers and that research and outreach could help. “We need to do more research and generate more data to build some faith in these products and also increases the knowledge in how to use them,” he said.
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