MSOB: Determining Where Biologicals Fit in IPM Program

Brian German Industry, Making Sense of Biologicals


Several factors need to be considered when looking to add biologicals to an Integrated Pest Management (IPM) program. Vice President of Field Development and Technical Services for Marrone Bio, Timothy Johnson said that their BioUnite program can help growers navigate some of the uncertainty when it comes to combining biological products with synthetic chemistries.

“The question arises, ‘well which synthetics do you include in the program?’ Is it a tank mix or is it a rotation? Do you use the biological product early because you have a key pest, and you only have one of two products that are really good on it?” said Johnson. “Maybe you’re limited to how many sprays you can apply in the season. So, you really need to use those later in the season when pest pressure is the highest. So maybe you can use a biological early when pressure is lowest, and the biologicals work well, and you keep those heavy hitters for late in the season.”

Biologicals can also be valuable in filling preharvest periods where synthetics can no longer be applied due to residue restraints. Johnson noted that there can be significant variability among biologicals and what can work best in certain situations. Mixing a fungicide with a biological product that is derived from a fungal organism can be counterproductive, for example. “You’ve got to look at the available information and try to make the best judgments as to what should work best,” said Johnson.

Listen to the full episode with Timothy Johnson below.

‘Making Sense of Biologicals’ is a series from AgNet West that dives into various topics with unbiased experts in the field of biologics to help the industry better understand the product category.

This episode of Making Sense of Biologicals is made possible by Marrone Bio Innovations, leading the movement to environmentally sustainable farming practices through the discovery, development and sale of innovative biological products for crop protection, crop health and crop nutrition. Marrone Bio’s portfolio of 18 products helps a wide range of growers – from row crops and fruits and vegetables to tree nuts, vines, and greenhouse production – operate more sustainably while increasing their return on investment. For educational webinars and biological IPM programs, visit