Assessing the “user-friendliness” of biopesticides and their conventional pesticide counterparts: A “proof-of- concept” framework for comparing pesticide groups
Keywords:biopesticides, pesticide comparisons, grower-friendliness, usability, indexing, analytical framework
Biopesticides have a number of positive attributes compared with conventional pesticides but direct comparisons are difficult to achieve objectively. Therefore, an indexing method was developed and used to compare the user-convenience and flexibility of spray-applied biopesticides commercially available in the New Zealand with similar conventional pesticides. Relative efficacy was not assessed. Biopesticides scored higher than conventional pesticides when all parameters were considered, particularly for the major fruit crops. Biopesticides had significantly shorter withholding periods, required less resistance management, seldom needed an approved handler, and were registered for more crops than conventional pesticides. However, they were less compatible with other products and some required special storage conditions. There was little difference between the two groups regarding bee toxicity, target range and adjuvant requirements. The methodology used here could potentially be used to compare any individual pesticides or pesticide groups pertaining to a particular measure of interest.