DOI: 10.1002/ps.7823 ISSN: 1526-498X

Application technology for bioherbicides: challenges and opportunities with dry inoculum and liquid spray formulations

Andrew J Hewitt, Victor J Galea, Christopher O'Donnell
  • Insect Science
  • Agronomy and Crop Science
  • General Medicine


Bioherbicides offer many potential benefits as part of an integrated weed management system or a totally biological or organic cropping system. A key factor for success is the selection of appropriate formulation and delivery systems for each target weed and cropping/climatic region. For dry inoculum products, we discuss direct implantation as an example for successful control of woody weeds, with benefits in control extending beyond the treated weeds to surrounding weeds. These applications do not require water and will become less labor‐intensive with future robotic application platforms. Indeed, all bioherbicide applications are likely to improve and become more cost‐effective with the advance of new application platforms with sensors and targeted control at lower application volume rates. Unmanned aerial vehicles, as new application platforms, are one of several such potential progressive application systems for liquid formulations, and we discuss product design to maintain optimum conditioning of the active ingredient(s) and storage stability. The delivery system must not adversely affect the products and the application volume rate must be appropriate for coverage on the target. Where applied with other products, compatibility must be ensured and appropriate mixing orders observed to assure performance and avoid precipitation or settling. Droplet size is important for allowing the active materials to be included in the spray, which may require droplets with diameter >150 μm for some larger particle biologically active agents. However, droplet size should not be too large to achieve target coverage. In some cases, that may be plant stems rather than leaves, or narrow grass weeds which tend to have highest spray collection efficiency for small droplets. Narrow droplet size spectrum nozzles may help optimize droplet size. We propose spray calculators to help optimize performance for coverage, retention and avoidance of drift losses, bounce, shatter and runoff. These include regulatory‐supported, validated models. © 2023 The Authors. Pest Management Science published by John Wiley & Sons Ltd on behalf of Society of Chemical Industry.

More from our Archive