Biopesticides, key components of integrated pest management (IPM) programs, are receiving much practical attention as a means to reduce the load of synthetic chemical products being used to control plant diseases. In most cropping systems, biopesticides should not necessarily be viewed as wholesale replacements for chemical control of plant diseases, but rather as a growing category of efficacious supplements that can be used as rotation agents to retard the onset of resistance to chemical pesticides and improve sustainability. In organic cropping systems, biopesticides can represent valuable tools that further supplement the rich collection of cultural practices that ensure against crop loss to diseases.
Biopesticides for use against crop diseases have already established themselves on a variety of crops. For example, biopesticides already play an important role in controlling downy mildew diseases. Their benefits include: a 0-Day Pre-Harvest Interval, the ability to use under moderate to severe disease pressure, and the ability to use as a tank mix or in a rotational program with other registered fungicides. Because some market studies estimate that as much as 20% of global fungicide sales are directed at downy mildew diseases, the integration of biofungicides into grape production has substantial benefits in terms of extending the useful life of other fungicides, especially those in the reduced-risk category.