CHAP’s Biopesticide facility is currently under construction at Stockbridge Technology Centre (STC), near Selby.
This facility will mean that new plant protection products and integrated crop protection programmes can be robustly assessed in field, glasshouse and hydroponic systems. This will benefit manufactures by providing more reliable trial conditions for their products, especially for biopesticides, with knock-on benefits to the crop production sector in the form of increased product availability.
The facility will provide a flexible and customisable fully-controlled glasshouse, permitting bespoke commercially-representative testing of plant protection products and integrated pest management programmes. It includes a suite of 60 custom-designed deep-water hydroponic units, allowing both plant protection programmes and exotox studies to be conducted.
The unit builds upon existing CHAP capabilities in early-stage biopesticide discovery and development and mesocosm-scale ecotoxicology trials and highly controlled field trials using precision spray application.
A major limitation to confirming the true potential of new biopesticide products and integrated pest management programmes is that they require carefully designed experiments in order to demonstrate reliably their effectiveness. Achieving this in commercial scale trials, which is often required for product registrations, is difficult and necessitates the use of flexible glasshouse designs, so that methodologies can be matched to products.
The CHAP Biopesticide facility at STC achieves this by allowing controlled and customised trials to be undertaken on a range of crops, including those grown under deep-water hydroponic systems and in the field including precision spraying.