Sung-eok Kim, office manager at Dongbu Farm, explains the reasons for this decision: “Chemical treatments are a serious stress factor for the crop. With biological control, plants experience less stress and growth inhibition and are therefore more vigorous. The introduction of beneficials also requires less labor compared to continuous spraying, because the beneficials continue to work day and night. All in all, the total cost of crop protection using biological control is lower.”
In pepper, the biocontrol program offers protection against whitefly, aphids and thrips. Whitefly control is achieved with the release of the predatory mite Amblyseius swirskii and introduction of Eretmocerus eremicus. For aphid control, Sung-eok Kim, in consultation with IPM expert Hyeon-Bae Yoon from Kyung Nong Corporation, decided to introduce the parasitic wasp Aphidius colemani. Finally, the predatory bug Orius laevigatus is used to control thrips.
“We recommended starting with relatively low release rates,” says Yoon “and it worked well.” Orius and Swirskii are introduced once at the beginning of the season. "Colemani is used preventively in a low dose as well. Eremicus is applied curatively during 4 to 6 weeks when whiteflies are first observed.”
Sung-eok Kim never ever regretted the switch to biocontrol in pepper: “Our IPM strategy really works. One always needs to remain vigilant during the season, but we never had major problems with pests. The nice thing about biology is that there is a constant flow of new technologies and products. This year we want to stimulate the Orius development by feeding the predatory bugs with Nutrimac®, so that the population can settle more quickly into the pepper crops.”
Sung-eok Kim is also very enthusiastic about the use of bumblebees for tomato pollination. "In spite of the fact that we still use certain chemicals in our tomato crop, the pollination is very successful. With the advice of Biobest on selection of compatible chemicals, things work very well. Yet, in the near future we hope to be able to switch completely to biological control also in our tomato crop.”
Sung-eok Kim concludes: “We really appreciate the outstanding service and technical support from Kyung Nong and Biobest. Without their regular support, the results wouldn’t be what they are today. Since we want to continue to innovate, the strong personal and professional links with our partners are of vital importance to further advance our IPM strategies.”