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Increasing Use of Biocontrol in NYS Greenhouses with a Producer-based Biocontrol Mentoring Network 2008

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Project Leaders: E. Lamb, NYS IPM; K.D. Hall, NYS Flower Industries; B. Eshenaur, G. Couch

Abstract: There is a low adoption of biocontrol for pest management in NYS greenhouses although it has been used successfully elsewhere for years.  Because lack of experience is a deterrent for adoption, a project to encourage grower-to-grower training and discussion on biocontrol was initiated, funded by NYFVI.  A group of NY growers toured Canadian greenhouses using biocontrol and participated in outreach activities after their return to share what they had learned.  Because the number of tour participants was low, and additional meetings were needed to encourage the exchange of information, a series of 6 on-farm grower discussions were held around the state.  Sites were chosen based on grower experience or interest in biocontrol, and the grower led the discussion, explaining how they used biocontrol in their operations.  Other resource people, from research, industry and extension, contributed information but the discussion followed the questions from the audience.  In most cases, the group also toured the greenhouse to see biocontrol in action. Evaluations after the event showed that most growers intended to try biocontrol. Response was very positive on the interaction and the format as well as the information presented.