Biological Control in Protected Agriculture

Date: August 21, 2018
Time: 8 a.m. - 4:15 p.m.
Location: Great Lakes Greenhouse 6573 East N Avenue Kalamazoo, MI 49048
Contact: Jeremy Jubenville,, 269-492-28132

 Strategy & Planning Short Course

The Michigan State University Floriculture Extension team will host a short course on strategy and planning for successful greenhouse biological control programs. This course places special emphasis on controlling pests in spring floriculture crops. The core concepts are both topical and highly applicable to other crops grown under protection. The curriculum for this course has been designed to be helpful to both beginning and advanced practitioners.

Guest Educator: Graeme Murphy 
Greenhouse IPM Specialist, bioLogical control solutions

Graeme started his career in agriculture with the Victorian State Government in Australia. From there, he moved to Canada and worked as the Greenhouse Floriculture IPM Specialist with the Ontario Ministry of Agriculture and Food (OMAFRA) for 26 years. During that time, he worked closely with the industry on pest management issues generally, including new and invasive pests, registration of new pesticides, research into new control strategies and development of educational programs and publications for Ontario growers. He has written widely in grower trade publications in Canada and the USA and has been an invited speaker at many conferences and grower meetings both locally and internationally. Since his retirement at the end of 2014, Graeme has been working as a consultant with greenhouse growers to help refine their pest management programs, focusing on in-house research projects, developing a better understanding of pest management economics, and establishing staff training sessions geared to the crops and pests of individual greenhouses.

Course overview:
The morning sessions will be taught by Graeme Murphy and will focus on techniques that he has found to be highly successful in working with Ontario greenhouse growers for more than twenty years.

The afternoon sessions adopt a group-oriented approach that feature a conversation on the economics of biocontrol, a pest management planning exercise, and a Q&A panel of IPM specialists and experienced local growers.

Course philosophy:
The curriculum for this course has been designed for flexibility on discussion topics and the on-site greenhouse location provides the opportunity for demonstrations and hands-on activities. Be sure to bring all your biocontrol questions and challenges and ask the experts!


8 - 9 a.m. – Registration and refreshments
8:15 - 8:45 a.m. – Optional: Guided tour of Great Lakes Greenhouse
9 - 9:05 a.m. – Official Welcome
9:05-9:25 a.m. – Session 1: Know your enemy

Susceptibility to management practices varies across species and life stages. We’ll briefly cover key life cycle and behavior characteristics to establish baseline pest knowledge and help stack the deck in your favor.

Speaker: Jeremy Jubenville, Michigan State University Extension

9:25 - 9:30 a.m. – Quick break
9:30 - 11 a.m. – Session 2: Successfully managing thrips with a biological control program

Thrips are highly prone to periods of rapid population growth and can be one of the most difficult pest challenges to overcome. This session provides a detailed exploration of the strategies and techniques that Ontario growers use to make thrips management the foundation of their biological control programs.

Speaker: Graeme Murphy, bioLogical control solutions

11 - 11:10 a.m. – Break
11:10 a.m. - 12 p.m. – Session 3: Integrating aphid, whitefly, and mite control tactics into a thrips biocontrol program

Aphid, whitefly, and spider mite populations can quickly get out of control, often requiring tactics that compromise the thrips program. This session addresses how to avoid these tough situations.

Speaker: Graeme Murphy, bioLogical control solutions

12 - 1 p.m. – Lunch
1 - 2 p.m. – Session 4: Economics of Biocontrol

Economic cost may be the primary barrier to adopting biocontrol. We’ll discuss the reasons why Ontario growers adopted biological control methods, how they approach cost management, and how they put it all together successfully.

Speaker: Graeme Murphy, bioLogical control solutions

2 - 3 p.m. – Session 5: Pest management work plan exercise

OK, time to put on our thinking caps! This experiential exercise is a practical application of the concepts discussed during the course. Participants will create the framework for a pest management plan for a single house for an entire crop cycle. Whether working individually or in groups, participants are encouraged to ask questions and interact with their colleagues. If time permits, we can show and discuss a few plans to evaluate their strengths and weaknesses.

Facilitators: Jeremy Jubenville, Heidi Lindberg, Graeme Murphy

3 - 3:15 p.m. – Break
3:15 - 4:15 p.m. – Session 6: Q&A Discussion Panel

There’s more than one way to solve a problem. Bring your burning questions and pest management problems and present them to a diverse panel of experts. A rare opportunity!
Questions can be submitted anonymously.

Panel members (alphabetical order): 
Chris Anzell (Koppert Biological Systems)
Mark Crossley (West Michigan IPM)
Carly Kelly-Scholz (Plant Products)
JJ Klimp (Randy’s Greenhouse)
Graeme Murphy (bioLogical control solutions)

Registration Cost:
Normal Registration (Ends Aug 10, 2018): $125
Last-minute Registration (Ends Aug 17, 2018): $150

On-Site Registration: $165*
Cancellation Fee after Aug. 10, 2018: $35

Registration includes lunch, morning and afternoon refreshments, and handouts.

(*On-site registration available unless venue is at capacity. Call Jeremy at 269-492-2813 for more info.)



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