It gives me a great pleasure to formally introduce you to Platform10, the most significant outcome generated by the 2023 Salinas Biological Summit.
Platform10 is an international, multi-year collaboration that will accelerate promising biopesticide companies, rigorously assess products, enhance grower confidence, and facilitate market development and adoption. Platform10 is being developed by Western Growers and ourselves at Wharf42.
Growers are up against mounting pest and disease challenges due to climate change, reduced efficacy, and diminishing availability of traditional pest control tools. The specialty crop industry in particular requires new crop input technologies due to governmental regulations and consumer demands. Bio-based and novel pest control options to address existing and anticipated gaps in pest management are sorely needed to ensure that our growers are properly equipped with the tools to address these challenges.
This new model to assess and accelerate biopesticide and bio-based pest control tools is intended to improve grower confidence and understanding for how to use biological products. Rigorous standards of efficacy including knockdown, crop damage, and increased yield/quality potential will be assessed. Additionally, effects on non-target organisms and soil health, replacement potential for traditional chemical pesticides, and appropriate application rate/use pattern will be considered. This program will work with product companies to design protocols, developed to assess how the product works when incorporated into a more integrated, ecologically based farming system.
Demonstrating successful product / solution outcomes through extensive field trials on grower properties is a key metric for Platform10. Over the next six months, Platform10 will be engaging with international partners to build out a multi-year program of activity. This will be formally launched at the 2024 Salinas Biological Summit next June.
Today, working with dedicated, targeted growers within the Western Grower network, the initial field trial program will be managed out of the Western Growers Center for Innovation and Technology in Salinas, California. This initial program, open to product companies anywhere, will be formally launched at the Organic Growers Summit in Monterey on 29-30 November.
Platform10 has targeted 5 key initial specialty crops with high priority diseases. They are;
Leafy Greens: INSV, Pythium, Thrips
Tomato: Beet leafhopper, Thrips and / or Tomato spotted wilt virus
Grape: Mealy bug, Powdery mildew, Botrytis
Strawberry / Other berries: Lygus bug, Macrophomina, Phytophthora
Citrus: Citrus thrips, Red scale
Product companies (of any size and from anywhere) who are;
- addressing the control of pests and diseases in the above crops where current traditional chemical solutions are at risk or have been removed;
- replacements for fumigants, where pest resistance is a serious problem;
- there are residue/MRL issues;
- the food channel buyers or export markets are asking to reduce or replace a particular chemical pesticide;
are asked to download the Platform10 RFP and apply to join the Program.