The ban of certain active substances and the impact of climate change are causing some secondary pests affecting citrus crops to become a bigger issue. “In the coming years, we will have both macrobiological and microbiological solutions for the control of emerging pests, whiteflies, Cicadellidae, aphids, etc., in addition to improving existing ones,” says Juan Miguel Rodríguez Abellán, head for citrus at Koppert Spain.

According to Juan Miguel Rodríguez, the training and advice of technicians is essential, not only in the management of biological control through the introduction of insects, but also in the management of biological control through conservation (plant covers, weed management, installation of hedges, etc.). “They are fundamental tools for pest control such as thrips or aphids,” he says.

“In recent campaigns, we have obtained excellent results in the biological control of pests in citrus fruits, including the citrus mealybug, with the use of Citripar®. The same can be said about Aphytis®, which is an excellent biological solution for the control of California red scale (Aonidiella aurantii) and Oleander scale (Aspidiotus nerii). In the current citrus campaign, we continue to develop new biological solutions, because biological control is a living tool that is constantly updated.”

Juan Miguel Rodríguez says that biological control is an effective alternative to chemical treatments in citrus fruits. “A good example is the effective protocol for red spider control through the use of the Neoseiulus californicus mite. The introduction of this predatory mite in the new Spical Ultimite® envelope format has played a major role in the control of this important pest, reducing and sometimes eliminating chemical treatments.

“Biological control in citrus fruits is expanding rapidly in all productive areas of Spain, especially in lemons, which is a crop for which growers have strongly opted for organic and zero waste production. In addition, we have good results in both mandarins and clementines, as in grapefruit and orange. Our protocols are adapted to any production model: organic, conventional, zero waste and biodynamic,” says Juan Miguel.

Koppert Spain manages more than 6,000 hectares of citrus with biological control. “In citrus fruits, the expansion of the acreage under biological control will be exponential in the coming campaigns. Our experience and technical and human resources are allowing us to meet the sector’s needs,” said the citrus manager at Koppert.

“The demands on the part of supermarkets and consumers in the European Union are very clear. The presence of active materials is being reduced and MRL’s are increasingly limited; therefore, all producers, large or small, need more sustainable, effective and easily implemented solutions for the control of pests and diseases. For its part, Koppert offers innovative solutions that meet the regulatory requirements and the demands from supermarkets, and this also facilitates access to new and more demanding markets for the Spanish citrus sector,” says Juan Miguel Rodríguez Abellán. – freshplaza.com