BCPC - promoting the science behind sustainable crop production

16 Mar 2023
Julian Westaway presenting at the BCPC Annual Congress 2022

General manager of BCPC, Julian Westaway explains BCPC's work and what's new in the UK Pesticide Guide 2023. 

The UK Pesticide Guide

January 2023 saw the publication of the 36th edition of the British Crop Production Council’s UK Pesticide Guide, the authoritative reference for all approved pesticides and adjuvants.

With a dedicated editor keeping track of new entrants, changes to approvals and addition of relevant EAMUs, the guide aims to ensure you have all the information at your fingertips to assist in those crop protection decisions.

Among the additions for 2023 is cinmethylin, BASF’s new entrant offering a new mode of action against black-grass although its introduction does highlight the implications of Brexit as it is not approved for use in Northern Ireland. Keeping track of approvals, and indeed any removal of approvals, has now become a year-round requirement.

To meet this demand BCPC, which has been part of NIAB since 2018, also produces the online version of the Guide.

This is updated throughout the year, keeping farmers and spray operators up to speed with all the changes while also adding the sophisticated search and compare functionality across fields including formulations, uses, dose rates, maximum total dose and/or latest timing of application, along with the pests or diseases controlled and Extensions of Authorisation for Minor Use (EAMU).

BCPC Logo with online and book version of the UK Pesticide Guide 2023

Expert Reviews

While the UK Pesticide Guide, known colloquially across the agricultural and horticultural industries as The Green Book, might be BCPC’s most widely known product, it is not alone in pulling together the expertise within the industry for crop production and pest and disease control. BCPC also organises its series of invitation-only Expert Reviews.

Two of these, the Weeds Review and the Diseases Review, are held at the tail-end of the year, with reports from the 2022 meetings now available - see Weeds Review 2022 and Diseases Review 2022. The third Expert Review,  covering Pests and Beneficials was held at the end of January.

The programme for each of these reviews is pulled together by a working group with around 12 subject specialists. While integrated crop management has always been an underlying feature in UK agriculture, it has featured highly in many of the recent presentations in all three reviews.

The Expert Review meetings are held at NIAB where around 70-80 delegates benefit not just from the presentations but also the networking opportunity among a like-minded audience. With the addition of online conferencing facilities these Reviews are now able to extend the invitation to attend still further. 

Annual Congress

While the Expert Reviews will focus largely on the agronomic aspects of crop production and protection, BCPC’s other flagship event is the annual Congress. This two-day conference focuses on the regulatory aspects of the industry, with speakers from Defra, HSE/CRD, Croplife and NFU alongside many others from within the industry.

The 2022 Congress, Providing policy and regulatory support for multi-functional UK agriculture, discussed how UK agriculture might best meet its three key deliverables of producing adequate supplies of healthy food to contribute to UK food security; supporting environmental initiatives including biodiversity, conservation, rewilding and environmental land management; and contributing to UK net carbon zero targets.

In addition to the two-days of presentations, delegates benefit from the UK Health and Safety Executive’s Chemicals Regulation Division’s afternoon workshop. This has now become a regular part of the conference programme and an ideal opportunity for the industry to input the delivery of government policy.

The above activities all sit comfortably within BCPC’s key strategic remit of “promoting the science of sustainable agriculture”, an area that not only covers pesticides, but all aspects of crop production.

Other services

It is here that two other BCPC services – its Manual of Biocontrol Agents and its GM/GE Biotech Crops Service - feature. Both these areas are gaining growing relevance as the global agricultural sector comes to terms with meeting the growing biodiversity and food security challenges ahead.

BCPC’s GM/GE Biotech Crops Service is a database that includes information on 372 products, on 25 crops worldwide, including GM crops and those produced by non-GM methods such as genetic selection and genome editing. The service also includes monthly e-newsletter, highlighting the latest biotech advances.

The Manual of Biocontrol Agents provides a reference of over 100 marco-organisms, 120-plus micro-organisms, 40-plus botanicals and over 50 semiochemicals used commercially around the world. The biocontrol content originated from one of BCPC’s other key services – its Pesticide Manual.

This was first published over 50 years ago and provides extensive technical data on over 10,000 product names and over 3,000 discontinued names. This has now evolved into a sophisticated online database, with extensive search features and downloadable data options.

Julian Westaway is the BCPC General Manager and Chairman of the BCPC Advisory Board.

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This article is adapted from one orgininally published in the Winter 2022/23 edition of NIAB’s Landmark magazine. Landmark features in-depth technical articles on all aspects of NIAB crop research, comment and advice. You can sign up for free and get Landmark delivered to your door or inbox:

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