Nov 19, 2019
Learn About Pesticides and PGRs at Michigan Greenhouse Growers Expo

Best practices for integrating biological control agents and learning the art of using plant growth regulators are two of the many educational sessions at the 2019 Great Lakes Fruit, Vegetable & Farm Market EXPO and Michigan Greenhouse Growers Expo.

Ray Cloyd, a professor and Extension specialist in horticultural entomology and plant protection at Kansas State University and a regular contributor to GPN, will lead the “Best Practices in Integrating Pesticides and Biocontrol Programs in Greenhouses” session.

During the session, Cloyd will present research and discuss characteristics and types of systemic insecticides that have been used (and are currently available for use) in horticultural cropping systems.

“I’m going to focus on whether it’s feasible to integrate biological control agents, including parasitoids, along with pesticides, including insecticides and fungicides, as well as biopesticides, and their impact on natural enemies,” Cloyd said. “And we’ll also talk about the practical aspects for nature, specifically the type of plan protection strategy needed.”

The session aims to not only educate greenhouse growers on the pesticides and biocontrol programs themselves, but will also help growers make informed decisions when it comes to their production processes.

“In today’s very competitive nature of production, the ability to manage pests and some of the issues out there right now is important,” Cloyd said. “It’s important that growers and producers are aware of the changes or issues that may impact them in terms of producing a quality crop.”

In the “Selection and Effective Use of Plant Growth Retardants” session, Joyce Latimer, an Extension specialist for greenhouse crops and professor of horticulture at Virginia Tech, will help growers learn the art of plant growth regulators and the science behind it.

The session is designed to help growers understand the plant growth regulator “toolbox,” which has a wide variety of products that help inhibit extension growth of herbaceous ornamentals. Selection of these proper tools depends on your crop and your goals, as well as your level of experience.

“Our goal is going to be helping growers identify the different types of plant growth regulators, and the characteristics that make them desirable, or less desirable, under certain conditions,” Latimer said. “And (once identified), then showing growers how they can use them effectively, and how to make them fit into a particular grower’s operation.”

Although there is a lot of science, Latimer says it’s every bit as much of an art when utilizing plant growth regulators — if not more.

“We try to give growers the science behind it, so they can apply it to how plants grow under their own conditions,” Latimer said. “But it is really a lot more of an art than it is a science.”

As for the 2019 EXPO, Latimer said she sees an incredible value in attending events and sessions, getting the opportunity to learn about nearly every aspect of the growing process.

“Events like these bring together the best experts in the field, and give you an opportunity to learn and see everything in one place,” Latimer said.

The 2019 Great Lakes Fruit, Vegetable & Farm Market EXPO and Michigan Greenhouse Growers Expo will take place Dec. 10-12, in Grand Rapids, Michigan. Registration is now open. For more information and to learn more about other educational opportunities, visit

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