New Biopesticides for Fireblight

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Good news for apple and pear growers!

Two new biopesticides (biological control agents) have been registered in Canada for the suppression of fire blight in apple and pear orchards. These products will help growers manage fire blight bacteria and help reduce reliance on, and the development of resistance to, streptomycin.

The registration of these new biopesticides is another step towards ensuring growers have the tools they need to manage priority pest problems.

The Pest Management Centre of AAFC has been working with apple growers under the Pesticide Risk Reduction Program to create a strategic management plan for long term fire blight control. A fire blight working group has been meeting since 2005 and has implemented many successful projects, including a literature review, a fact sheet, a fire blight risk estimation model, and many grower educational workshops. For more information on these fire blight projects and the program visit our website.

What are the new biopesticides?

BlightBan C9-1 (Nufarm Agricultural Inc.) and Bloomtime Biological FD (Northwest Agricultural Products). Both contain different strains of a commonly occurring orchard bacteria: Pantoea agglomerans.

How do they work?

These biopesticides mainly work by competing against the fire blight bacteria for space and nutrients, and in some cases by producing natural antibacterial substances called pantocins. BlightBan C9-1 and Bloomtime can reduce disease incidence by suppressing the population of the fire blight bacteria in flowers. The level of disease suppression achieved with these products is influenced by environmental conditions and depends strongly on appropriate timing of the application. The information below will help you reach the best possible results.

When and how do I use them?

Both BlightBan C9-1 and Bloomtime need to be used as a part of an integrated fire blight manage-ment program, which includes using a risk assessment model and applying Streptomycin 17 when necessary. These products are compatible with streptomycin. BlightBan C9-1 and Bloomtime only work on blossoms that are open at the time of application and ensuring thorough coverage of the blooms is important. Generally, the first biopesticide application should be made when a cultivar is at 15-20% bloom followed by a second application at 75-100% bloom. Copper sprays should not be used at the same time, as they are toxic to the biopesticides and affect their performance. Always follow label instructions for application, storage and disposal.

Why do I need to use a forecasting model?

Forecasting models (Cougarblight or Maryblyt) must be used to properly time applications of all fire blight management products. In order for the biopesticide products to be effective, they must be established in the flower stigmas before the fire blight bacteria arrive. During bloom, these biopesticides must be used a minimum of 48 to 72 hours before the models tell you that risks will be elevated. The use of a forecasting model identifies when the bacteria may be active in your orchard which allows you to make informed decisions about the application of these biopesticides and streptomycin. This will reduce your material and application costs by making sure you are applying products only when needed.

What is the best fire blight control strategy for me?

The use of an integrated management plan, taking advantage of all the tools available to you, is the best approach for fire blight control. Your plan should include the removal of tree scaffolds/branches that have fire blight symp-toms, the use of forecasting models to establish a fire blight risk profile in your orchard, the use of BlightBan C9-1 and Bloomtime to suppress the pathogen and the use of streptomycin to control the disease.

Summer demonstration trials near you!

This summer, demonstration trials will be held in British Columbia, Ontario, Quebec and Nova Scotia. Please contact agricultural extension staff in your province if you are interested in participating in or learning more about these demonstration trials. These trials will collect information on the performance of BlightBan C9-1 and Bloomtime based on different geographical and climatic regions. Information on these demonstration trials will be made available to all interested growers.

Who do I contact for more information?

For information on integrated management of fire blight, please contact your local extension specialist, consultant, or packing house field staff.

For information on the new biopesticide products, please contact the companies directly:

Blaine Hood
Northwest Agricultural Products
Regional Sales Manager
Cell phone: 509-554-0708
Office phone: 509-547-8234

Nufarm Agriculture Inc.
Grower Information Number

Funding for this publication was provided by the Pest Management Centre, Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada. Information on pesticides and pest control techniques are provided for information purposes only. Information contained in this publication is not intended to be used by growers as a production guide. Every effort has been made to ensure that the information in this publication is complete and accurate. Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada does not assume liability for errors, omissions, or representations, expressed or implied, contained in any written or oral communication associated with this publication.

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