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Protecting your valuable cannabis crop with biocontrol

Protecting your valuable cannabis crop with biocontrol

The legalization of cannabis cultivation in a growing number of countries has resulted in a rapidly rising demand for biological solutions for pests and diseases that affect this valuable crop. Leading biocontrol expert in this field, Koppert Biological Systems, has invested a great deal of research and development into finding the most effective biocontrol over the last three years.

‘Three to four years ago, we were overwhelmed when a number of countries legalized the cultivation of cannabis and needed our biocontrol products for their medicinal cannabis production,’ Senior Consultant at Koppert, Erik van Santen, remembers. ‘Since then, we have focused and accelerated our R&D in cannabis crop protection to provide a growing range of products and services for these specific growers.’

It all started in Canada

Koppert’s Canadian subsidiaries based in Toronto and Leamington, Ontario, were quick to respond when the cultivation of cannabis was legalized in this country in 2018. Biological solutions were soon underway to licensed producers, and today Koppert provides a wide range of macro- and microbiological solutions, as well as biostimulants, to some of the top producers in Canada. After 2019, similar opportunities presented themselves in several states in the USA where cannabis cultivation was legalized. Potential markets for Koppert’s biological cannabis solutions soon partly opened in Denmark, North Macedonia, the UK, Spain, Portugal and other European countries, as well as a number of countries in Africa.

‘After the initial rush for licences worldwide and steep demand for biocontrol in recent years, demand has flattened out slightly during the pandemic as some of the bigger growers closed down. However, we at Koppert still see great potential as new countries legalize cannabis across the world,’ says Van Santen. ‘At the same time, consumer confidence in cannabis-related products is also improving, but needs further regulation from the pharmaceutical industry to ensure that medicinal products truly are consistent in active ingredients and also free of chemical agents.’

Cannabis biocontrol

Growing cannabis on a large scale is a considerable investment, so producers often opt for a comprehensive preventive and curative approach. Cannabis is prone to various pests, especially thrips, spider mite and a number of different aphid species.

‘Our biological product range covers all the major pest and diseases and we have biostimulants that strengthen and protect the root systems, so we recommend a holistic approach,’ says Van Santen. ‘With up to 6 crop cycles possible under artificial illumination per year, the need for total crop protection is a priority for growers. Due to the commercial value of the crop and high-density cultivation, growers tend not to take any risks and mainly use a combination of our biological products to prevent and combat both pests and diseases.’

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Continuous R&D of pests and diseases

Thrips is one of the most prevalent pests in protected cultivation with high temperatures and low humidity in greenhouses and grow rooms, and requires both preventive as well as curative measures. Koppert’s Swirskii Ulti-Mite sachets fit perfectly in the integrated pest management scheme for this pest. Horiver sticky cards play a useful role for trapping adult thrips, and Entomite takes care of any harmful pupae.

Spider mite is another stubborn problem in cannabis crops and can be both prevented and solved by using Spical Ulti-Mite, Spidex Boost and regular Spidex.

Aphids are probably the most difficult of the pests to address, and are especially prevalent in North America because of the large-scale production. The harmful aphid, Phorodon cannabis, has also recently been found at a number of different production sites in Europe. Koppert is currently running an ongoing research project on this pest and how best to combat it. At present, the most effective biological solution is a combination of different parasitic wasps and Chrysopa eggs. In countries where Mycotal Addit has been registered, this is an effective contact spray when applied early in the growing cycle.

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Our company

Koppert Biological Systems produces sustainable cultivation solutions for food crops and ornamental plants. Together with growers and in partnership with nature, we work to make agriculture and horticulture healthier, safer, more productive and resilient. We achieve this by using natural enemies to combat pest infestations, bumblebees for natural pollination, and biostimulants that support and strengthen the crops both above and underground. Restoring and protecting vital ecosystems in a natural way is the basis for healthy crops and a balanced environment.

Add our quality know-how and consultancy services to this and you will understand why an increasing number of growers regards us as a partner with whom they can realize their ambitions.

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Koppert Biological Systems

Protecting your valuable cannabis crop with biocontrol

Koppert Biological Systems has several sticky traps available for monitoring and trapping pests in a wide variety of crops. This video shows you how to apply Horiver Disc in your crop.

Use Spidex Vital for biological pest control of two spotted spider mite (Tetranychus urticae). Spidex Vital works well on all the life cycle stages of the two-spotted spider mite but prefers younger stages most. Use Spidex Vital preventatively and at the first sign of pest presence.

Visit our Experience Centre and discover the world of sustainable cultivation.

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