What next for biocontrol?

This, our fourth Arable Horizons talk took place on 30 May 2017 at the University of Lincoln and looked at the research projects and individuals that are working to make biological control a more effective, viable tool for UK farmers.

As a country, the UK has been slow to uptake biocontrol as an effective disease and pest control method. In this lecture we will also look at what other countries are doing around the topic of biocontrol, the progress they are making, and what this work could mean for UK agriculture.

In attendance were farmers, agronomists, researchers and scientists from across UK agriculture to listen to the talk presented by our speaker, Professor Simon Leather. Read the full report from the event.



Professor Simon Leather

Simon Leather is currently Professor of Entomology in the Department of Crop & Environment Sciences at Harper Adams University, where he also heads the new Centre for Integrated Pest Management.

He teaches undergraduate and MSc students, and has supervised over 48 PhD students to completion since joining in 2012.

At HAU, Prof. Leather is the Director of Study on various research projects looking at UK biocontrol including ‘Tritrophic interactions in mixed vegetable crops’ and ‘Novel methods for the mass rearing of predatory mites of biological control in glasshouses’.

He believes passionately in outreach and regularly speaks at schools as well as to local Natural History Societies, the WI, U3A and others. He blogs at Don’t Forget the Roundabouts and can be found on Twitter as @Entoprof.

Dr Rob Jackson

Rob Jacobson BSc PhD FRES MBPR (Hort) has been actively involved with crop protection for 40 years and has specialised in integrated pest management (IPM) in glasshouse crops for over 30 years.

He has experience as an extension worker for the UK government, Technical Manager for a biocontrol producer and Research Leader with the UK’s largest horticultural research organisation.

Rob has operated as an independent consultant for the 12 years. His numerous clients have included the UK’s largest tomato producer, Europe’s largest independent organic tomato producer, Australia’s largest glasshouse tomato producer and two of the UK’s major retailers.

Rob specialises in the development of whole IPM programmes and has focused on strengthening weak links in existing IPM programmes for high input crops, such as tomato, cucumber and pepper, and developing completely new IPM programmes for lower input crops, such as leafy salads and bedding plants.

Rob has won the ‘Science into Practice’ category at the ‘Grower of the Year Awards’ for his work on IPM in tomato crops.

For general enquiries, please contact the team.