As a professional grounds person it is always recommended to keep abreast of developments in the world of pest and disease control. The British Crop Production Council have recently published up to date material on Biocontrol Agents and Pesticides. The guidance clearly outlines the active ingredients that are registered for global use in a wide variety of products tailored for use by the arable agriculture, horticulture (including amenity horticulture), and forestry industries.
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The Manual of Biocontrol Agents
The regulatory restrictions on the use of traditional chemical pesticides has put emphasis on the importance of biological control agents as part of an integrated pest management approach. The Manual of Biocontrol Agents online database presents key information about 258 active substances and organisms that are registered for worldwide use in pest and disease control.
The development of this database on biocontrol agents is a positive move forward in making unwieldy information available in a short space of time, and will also be a reliable source of up-to-date 'live' information. Such a resource is vital in the current regulatory climate in which Integrated Pest Management is being brought to the fore.
The home page, located on the first tab, gives an overview of the use of the database alongside a video and some basic statistics on the number of active substances per category of biological control (microorganisms (104), macroorganisms (87), semiochemicals (35), and botanicals (23)), and on the number of products per use type (natural enemy (239), insecticide (92), fungicide (68), attractant (11), bactericide (11), acaricide (10), nematicide (9), herbicide (4), plant growth regulators (2), and plant activators (1)).
There are 4 subsequent tabs available to browse, namely; active substances (240), products (443), targets (746), crops (291), and companies (98). Navigating the information in these tabs is straightforward, with information content appearing comprehensive, although in need of some refinement in terms of format. An individual can select a specific active substance, product, target, crop, or company, and it will appear as a tab for use later, meanwhile; a search bar at the top allows a user to access information immediately by using keywords.
As a plant pathologist, all of the data tabs are of interest, however the most valuable out of the four is the active substance tab, which presents a table of active substances alongside their category, product links, crops, and the target species. Focusing on a particular active substance allows access to additional information on; biogeography, mode of action, production method, nomenclature (including numerical identifiers), and toxicological data. This information combined with the ability to 'bookmark' a tab, and search for keywords is useful for compiling lots of data in very little time.
Overall the online database of The Manual of Biocontrol Agents is an invaluable resource for all pest management practitioners.
The UK Pesticide Guide 2018
The UK Pesticide Guide 2018 is a comprehensive manual which outlines products approved for use under UK pesticide legislation. The products are professionally used by the arable agriculture, horticulture (including amenity horticulture), and forestry industries and include 2837 products, 421 active ingredients, and 163 adjuvants.
This book is laid out in a familiar format that has been used in versions that the 2018 copy supersedes. The important herbicide, fungicide, and insecticide gains and losses are outlined at the beginning with 15 new active ingredient profiles and 2 new actives as full entries being listed.
The guide is organised into six sections including: a crop/pest guide; pesticide profiles; other products that are registered; adjuvants; and generally useful information. There is a new section that includes information on Local Environment Risk Assessment for Pesticide (LERAP) requirements in relation to arthropod buffer zone restrictions and statutory drift reduction near water courses and bodies of water. There is also additional emphasis on the importance of combining residual and contact products, whilst optimising timings and dose rates to ensure that efficacy of active ingredients is protected from adaptation and the development of resistance in the target organism.
The book is limited by the fact that the data therein relates to the position as at the end of October 2017. However, it is accompanied by an online database that is regularly kept up to date, and has a search function across all fields, whilst providing information on: maximum approved dosage, total dosage and timings; harvest intervals; mode of action; hazard categories and LERAP classifications; Extensions of Authorisation for Minor Use recommendation sheets and supplier details; and links to Maximum Residue Levels.
From my point of view as a plant pathologist the online database compliments the book which is an 'easy to pull off the shelf guide' containing the main considerations of the active ingredients and products, whilst being a well-prepared source for reference information on pertinent regulations.
Overall the book gives a substantial and comprehensive amount of detail on pesticides, plant growth regulators, and adjuvants. It is positive that this information has been made available by the British Crop Production Council in the form of both a book and online database.