What is Biological Products-

A biological product is a substance derived from a living organism and used for the prevention or treatment of disease. Biologicals are usually too complex for chemical synthesis by a laboratory. These products include antitoxins, bacterial, viral and hormone extracts.

Biological crop protection products, also called “biologicals,” represent a broad category of plant protection products that are derived from living organisms. Growers use biologicals to complement chemical products in an integrated pest management (IPM) program or as stand-alone method, for protecting plants from disease, insect pests and competition from weeds.

How do biologicals differ from pesticides?

The biggest difference between biologicals and chemicals is that biologicals are made from living or naturally occurring materials and chemicals are not. Biologicals can be chemically synthesized but nature-like in composition. Both types of products offer protection against a wide variety of plant diseases, insect pests, and weeds for the farmers who use them.

How are biological products regulated?

The regulatory environment for biologicals differs between countries and regions. Generally, authorities around the world recognize that biological plant protection products are beneficial but different from chemical plant protection products. Even so, this recognition has not necessarily lead to consistent approaches in regulatory requirements or review processes. In some countries, biologicals are registered under specific legislation, or they may be registered in a similar manner to chemical plant protection products. Sometimes there are reduced data requirements and other times, there may be no well-defined process at all for their registration at all.

How do farmers ensure the responsible use of biologicals?

In similar ways to chemical crop protection. Farmers can apply biologicals with the same equipment used for their chemical products directly to plants or to the soil in which the plants are grown, or as a seed treatment.

Because they may contain living organisms as active ingredients, biologicals may have certain storage,handling and application requirements that are critical to their efficacy. Growers are responsible for these best management practices as well as thoroughly reading labels and following instructions from the manufacturer. These instructions detail proper storage temperature, application timing and methods, product shelf life and compatibility.

What crops are biologicals used on?

On more crops than you think! Biologicals are used throughout the world with a wide range of fruits, vegetables and tree-nuts, as well as row and field crops. Biologicals are versatile and work in both organic and conventional crop production systems.

What are the key benefits of biologicals in agriculture?

Sustainability: Biologicals are an essential tool in sustainable agriculture. They are a functional component to an effective Integrated Pest Management (IPM)strategy and contribute to environmentally responsible production systems.

Crop Yield and Quality: Biologicals help improve crop yields and quality. This helps growers deliver healthy and affordable feed and food products to consumers around the world. Biologicals help with resistance management because of their different modes of action which results in increased yields and farm profitability over the long term.